John Betjeman


Oh would I could subdue the flesh
    Which sadly troubles me! 
And then perhaps could view the flesh
As though I never knew the flesh
    And merry misery.

To see the golden hiking girl
    With wind about her hair, 
The tennis-playing, biking girl, 
The wholly-to-my-liking girl, 
    To see and not to care.

At sundown on my tricycle
    I tour the Borough’s edge, 
And icy as an icicle
See bicycle by bicycle
    Stacked waiting in the hedge.

Get down from me! I thunder there, 
    You spaniels! Shut your jaws! 
Your teeth are stuffed with underwear, 
Suspenders torn asunder there
    And buttocks in your paws! 

Oh whip the dogs away my Lord, 
    They make me ill with lust.
Bend bare knees down to pray, my Lord, 
Teach sulky lips to say, my Lord, 
    That flaxen hair is dust. 

*(in literature, especially comedy) an old man as a stock figure