Friday, June 12, 2009

Slough, eh? Where else have I heard of Slough?

Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!

Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
Tinned minds, tinned breath.

Mess up the mess they call a town-
A house for ninety-seven down
And once a week a half a crown
For twenty years.

And get that man with double chin
Who'll always cheat and always win,
Who washes his repulsive skin
In women's tears:

And smash his desk of polished oak
And smash his hands so used to stroke
And stop his boring dirty joke
And make him yell.

But spare the bald young clerks who add
The profits of the stinking cad;
It's not their fault that they are mad,
They've tasted Hell.

It's not their fault they do not know
The birdsong from the radio,
It's not their fault they often go
To Maidenhead

And talk of sport and makes of cars
In various bogus-Tudor bars
And daren't look up and see the stars
But belch instead.

In labour-saving homes, with care
Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
And dry it in synthetic air
And paint their nails.

Come, friendly bombs and fall on Slough
To get it ready for the plough.
The cabbages are coming now;
The earth exhales.

This was written in 1937.

There was much embarrassed coughing and throat-clearing in the 1940s when some not-so-friendly bombs were falling on a large number of English cities.

Not too sure if Slough was hit, though.


squib said...

I like that. Slough is always good for a laugh

Perseus said...

The 'cabbages'?

Is that Germans? Or actual cabbages?

Ebony McKenna. said...

This is a piece of magic.
(Now have 'handbags and glad rags' in my head)

Ophelia said...

Isn't Slough where "The Office" was based?

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Yer actual cabbages, I think Pers.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

And indeed yes, Ophelia.

Ophelia said...

I'm glad they didn't bomb it, then. Otherwise the world would never have encountered the odious Mr Brent.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Come friendly bombs and fall on Lorne,
The people there look so forlorn,
But spare the lonely Texan Pirate Goth,
With gay chainsaw and hacking cough!

Perseus said...

Spare too Lorne's Mermaid if you see fit

She wears God's eyes and has perfect tit

She bakes in the sun, topless and bewitching

Then at night gets shickered in the Goth's retro kitchen

Loose Shunter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loose Shunter said...

That would be John Betjeman if I'm not mistaken. A great polemic railing against 'modern life' for the English middle class in the 1930s.

Kind of like the poetic version of Denis Potter's Pennies from Heaven. But without the sex and violence.

Perseus said...

Jesus. We wait months and months for Loose Shunter, worried sick, then he pops is and two seconds later deletes his comment!

Perseus said...

Oh, I see, you corrected your comment.

Where the hell have you been young man? We've been worried sick. There's chops in the oven...

Good to see you got the word 'railing' into your comment.

Loose Shunter said...


A delightful combination of work and study have kept me a bit 'light on' in the world of blogging of late.

P.S. I put in 'railing' just for you.


Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Ricky Gervais is a big fan of John Betjeman, which is one of the reasons why he based The Office in Slough.

LS - we should catch up again for a beer sometime soon.

Lewd Bob said...

I wrote a very similar poem about Ringwood.