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.