Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Sir John Betjeman

by John Betjeman (1906 – 1984)
Bird-watching colonels on the old sea wall,
Down here at Dawlish where the slow trains crawl:
Low tide lifting, on a shingle shore,
Long-sunk islands from the sea once more:
Red cliffs rising where the wet sands run,
Gulls reflecting in the sharp spring sun;
Pink-washed plaster by a sheltered patch,
Ilex shadows upon velvet thatch:
What interiors those names suggest!
Queen of lodgings in the warm south-west….


I've decided to do a little bit of Betjeman with some of my pupils, starting with

the poem , 'Dawlish', this seaside town being very close to where I live.

Sir John Betjeman once said:

“Too many people in the modern world view poetry as a luxury, 

not a necessity like petrol. But to me it's the oil of life.”

Poetry was obviously his great passion!

I've always rather enjoyed Sir John Betjeman's poems.

If you enjoy something, then you can teach it well

...that's my view!

In my opinion, Sir John Betjeman was the people's poet.

He wasn't a poet to be taken too seriously and

I loved his humour, his wit and occasional irony.

 His combination of nostalgia and fun,

drew me to his poetry when I was studying

some of it, during my own schooldays.

The illustrated


This is my favourite book by John Betjeman, partly

because of the poetry and partly due to the lovely

illustrations, which complement the words so very well!

Hugh Casson was a close friend of  Sir John Betjeman.

Architect and former president of The Royal Academy,

Hugh Casson's passion for those places about which Betjeman writes,

certainly comes across in his lovely drawings.

Here are a selection:

Simply charming!



Graham said...

Wonderful drawings Sal , a book of pure treasure.
I too have always enjoyed his humour as I called him the "Railway Poet" being they were his greatest love, his "Metroland" poem is a classic in my book.

galant said...

Love the poetry of Betjeman, and the illustrations by Casson. I have Casson's delightful illustrated diary and I can always read and enjoy Betjeman who reaches the parts other poets fail to Sfor the fish knives, Norman ..." (or perhaps I've misquoted, but something like that!) he really 'nails it', as they say.
Margaret P

galant said...

I don't know what went wrong with my comment, but it became mangled!
I said "... who reaches the parts other poets fail to reach. And then "Send for the fish knives, Norman ..."
Margaret P