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    John Betjeman - A Russell Flint


    by poetictouch

    Nigel Hawthorn performs John Betjeman's poem A Russell Flint - From the 1993 BBC film Late Flowering Lust

    A Russell Flint
    by John Betjeman (1906-1984)

    I could not speak for amazement at your beauty
    As you came down the Garrick stair,
    Grey-green eyes like the turbulent Atlantic
    And floppy schoolgirl hair.

    I could see you in a Sussex teashop,
    Dressed in peasant weave and brogues,
    Turning over as firelight shone on brassware,
    Last year's tea-stained Vogues.

    I could see you as a large-eyed student,
    Frowning as you tried to learn,
    Or, head flung back, the confident girl prefect,
    Thrillingly kind and stern.

    I could not speak for amazement at your beauty;
    Yet when you spoke to me,
    You were calm and gentle as a rock pool
    Waiting, warm, for the sea.

    Wave on wave, I plunged in them to meet you —
    In wave on wave I drown;
    Calm rock pool, on the shore of my security
    Hold me when the tide goes down.