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    John Betjeman - Late Flowering Lust


    by poetictouch

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

    Late Flowering Lust
    by John Betjeman (1906-1984)

    My head is bald, my breath is bad,
    Unshaven is my chin,
    I have not now the joys I had
    When I was young in sin.

    I run my fingers down your dress
    With brandy-certain aim
    And you respond to my caress
    And maybe feel the same.

    But I've a picture of my own
    On this reunion night,
    Wherein two skeletons are shewn
    To hold each other tight;

    Dark sockets look on emptiness
    Which once was loving-eyed,
    The mouth that opens for a kiss
    Has got no tongue inside.

    I cling to you inflamed with fear
    As now you cling to me,
    I feel how frail you are my dear
    And wonder what will be —

    A week? or twenty years remain?
    And then — what kind of death?
    A losing fight with frightful pain
    Or a gasping fight for breath?

    Too long we let our bodies cling,
    We cannot hide disgust
    At all the thoughts that in us spring
    From this late-flowering lust.