for L. E. M.
We give no compensation,
The earth is ours today,
And if we lose on arable,
Then bungalows will pay.
All concrete sheds … etc.
—John Betjeman, “Harvest Hymn”
We rowed out to Paquachuck Inn
Too late to get the morning papers.
All week we had been sleeping in:
All night we’d listen to the breakers’
Slow consoling roar,
After days spent on the shore
In rippling arguments
Among the salty scents
Of Buzzard’s Bay.
I won’t forget that one calm day
We rowed out to the Inn at last in time
To get the papers: that air of kelp and thyme
And you stay with me in East Anglia,
Anglesey, Polzeath, Daymer … etc.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 23 Number 1, on page 32
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