Snuggling up to John Betjeman

When recently indisposed due to a bad attack of Man. Utd. (not uncommon these days), I was unable to make Margaret Holbrook’s March “Spoken Word” at Poynton’s Ubagene wine bar, so I asked her if she would read 2 poems for me from “Seconds Out”: “Character 4” (about my Mum) and “Character 1” (about my Dad), both of whom had died in the month of March. Her throwaway, comforting remark sparked the following verse:

Snuggling up to John Betjeman

The first day of Spring and I wax almost lyrical,

not like me at all. I’m more often satirical.

You might go so far as to say it’s a miracle.

or not say a word. That’s entirely empirical.


These thoughts come from those casual comments you dropped.

I’d said your “Seconds Out” had been charity shopped.

“Not at all,” you replied. In my tracks I was stopped.

“Next to John Betjeman on my shelf it is propped.”


Next to my hero! I was flattered and flustered

and saw straightway on my face was egg custard.

What in life could be better than to be clustered

and snuggled up next to JB! Done and dusted.



  1. Margaret Holbrook · March 21, 2018

    FAB – U _ LOUS! Pleased my comment was apt and useful!


  2. STEPHEN JOSEPH · March 21, 2018

    You seem to be having fun placing words in the right order🌹

    Sent from my iPad



  3. Viv betts · March 21, 2018

    Love it


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