Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.— John Betjeman
The most interesting John Betjeman quotes that are easy to memorize and remember
On out deathbeds we're not going to regret all the work we didn't do.
We're going to regret all the sex we didn't have!
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.
Norfolk would not be Norfolk without a church tower on the horizon or round a corner up a lane. We cannot spare a single Norfolk church. When a church has been pulled down the country seems empty or is like a necklace with a jewel missing.
Now if the harvest is over, And the world cold, Give me the bonus of laughter, As I lose hold.
What the Londoner sees in his mind's eye is that cluster of towers and pinnacles seen from Pentonville Hill and outlined against a foggy sunset, and the great arc of Barlow's train shed gaping to devour incoming engines, and the sudden burst of exuberant Gothic of the hotel seen from gloomy Judd Street.
History must not be written with bias, and both sides must be given, even if there is only one side.
People's backyards are much more interesting than their front gardens, and houses that back on to railways are public benefactors.
Topography is one of my chief themes in my poetry, about the country, the suburbs and the seaside. Then there comes love... and increasingly; the fear of death.
There are two thing you need for a jolly good hymn.
The first is a set of words that expresses the mood or sentiment of the worshipper.The second-and perhaps even more important- is a good tune..with a simple popular melody.
Gracious Lord, oh bomb the Germans. Spare their women for Thy Sake, And if that is not too easy, We will pardon Thy Mistake. But, gracious Lord, whate'er shall be, Don't let anyone bomb me.
A whispering and watery Norfolk sound Telling of all the moonlit reeds around.
And now, dear Lord, I cannot wait Because I have a luncheon date.
Hymns are the poetry of the people.
I have a Vision of the Future, chum. The workers flats in fields of soya beans tower up like silver pencils, score on score.
And behind their frail partitions Business women lie and soak, Seeing through the draughty skylight Flying clouds and railway smoke. Rest you there, poor unbelov'd ones, Lap your loneliness in heat, All too soon the tiny breakfast, Trolley-bus and windy street!
And London shops on Christmas Eve Are strung with silver bells and flowers As hurrying clerks the City leave To pigeon-haunted classic towers, And marbled clouds go scudding by The many-steepled London sky
Ludlow....is probably the loveliest town in England with its hill of Georgian houses ascending from the river Teme to the great tower of the cross-shaped church, rising behind a classic market building.
Lovers of Norfolk churches can never agree which is the best and I think one is either a Salle or a Cawston man.
I am still reeling with delight at the soaring majesty of Norfolk.
Hymn tunes are the nearest we've got to English folk music.
And I think it was the outline of that church tower at Belaugh against the sky which gave me a passion for churches so that every church I've past since I've wanted to stop and look in.
Old men who never cheated, never doubted, Communicated monthly, sit and stare At the new suburb stretched beyond the run-way Where a young man lands hatless from the air.
It's strange that those we miss the most Are those we take for granted.
Approval of what is approved of Is as false as a well-kept vow.
One mark of good verse is surprise
Imprisoned in a cage of sound, even the trivial seems profound
Keep our Empire undismembered guide our Forces by Thy Hand, gallant blacks from far Jamaica, Honduras and Togoland; protect them Lord in all their fights, and even more, protect the whites.
Oh Wasn't it naughty of Smudges? Oh, Mummy, I'm sick with disgust.
She threww me in front of the judges, And my silly old collar-bone's bust.
Lord, reserve for me a crown, And do not let my shares go down.
Silver and ermine and red faces full of port wine.
I don't think I am any good. If I thought I was any good, I wouldn't be.
Oh! full Surrey twilight! importunate band! Oh! strongly adorable tennis-girl's hand!
I ought to warn you that my verse is of no interest to people who can think.