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“Meet me at St Pancras”

April 14, 2013

Two options

renaissance-st-pancras-hotel   meeting place    frieze

The recently added frieze under Paul Day’s Meeting Place should please those (not me) who think the idealised erotica of the main statue tacky. But if crowded trains, laden shoppers, and rougher sex (click here) don’t do it for you, move 50 yards north.

betjeman watercolour    Poet Laureate John Betjeman in 1974 at Sloane Square underground station, London   betjeman3

In the 1960s John Betjeman campaigned to stop Giles Gilbert Scott’s magnificent building being replaced with a concrete box like nearby Euston. He deserved his statue by Paul Jennings. Around the base is verse six of Cornish Cliffs. which is odd since no train ever went southwest from here. Water-colourists will like A misty sea line meets the wash of air.  Here’s the full poem.

Cornish Cliffs

Those moments, tasted once and never done,
Of long surf breaking in the mid-day sun.
A far-off blow-hole booming like a gun-

The seagulls plane and circle out of sight
Below this thirsty, thrift-encrusted height,
The veined sea-campion buds burst into white

And gorse turns tawny orange, seen beside
Pale drifts of primroses cascading wide
To where the slate falls sheer into the tide.

More than in gardened Surrey, nature spills
A wealth of heather, kidney-vetch and squills
Over these long-defended Cornish hills.

A gun-emplacement of the latest war
Looks older than the hill fort built before
Saxon or Norman headed for the shore.

And in the shadowless, unclouded glare
Deep blue above us fades to whiteness where
A misty sea-line meets the wash of air.

Nut-smell of gorse and honey-smell of ling
Waft out to sea the freshness of the spring
On sunny shallows, green and whispering.

The wideness which the lark-song gives the sky
Shrinks at the clang of sea-birds sailing by
Whose notes are tuned to days when seas are high.

From today’s calm, the lane’s enclosing green
Leads inland to a usual Cornish scene-
Slate cottages with sycamore between,

Small fields and tellymasts and wires and poles
With, as the everlasting ocean rolls,
Two chapels built for half a hundred souls.

John Betjeman

2 Comments leave one →
  1. sue permalink
    April 15, 2013 9:38 am

    i like the juxtaposition of ‘over these long-defended Cornish hills’ and ‘a gun emplacement of the latest war’ – ‘latest’ is deliberately rather unsettling

  2. pureform 2000 permalink
    April 18, 2013 4:02 pm

    Hello again, Attached a great little article Ive written explaining why Co2 cant be responsible for any Global warming experienced and that no tipping point of the climate can be expected. Have a read and tell me what you think. Lawrence.

    Date: Sun, 14 Apr 2013 21:50:31 +0000 To:

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