Various Black Victorian Towers

This Margie Geddes. When she died aged 96 over a hundred love letters and postcards from John Betjeman were found under her bed. Betjeman was quite the ladies’ man, having a wife and a mistress besides Margie and several engagements behind him. I posted a Youtube video of his poem The Licorice Fields Of Pontefract set to some nice guitar and horn backing by Jim Parker in 1974 the other day. For your convenience and pleasure this Sunday morning I’ve ripped it. Somehow a bit of poetry feels right for a Sunday morning.

The Licorice Fields Of Pontefract/In The Public Gardens

In the licorice fields at Pontefract
My love and I did meet
And many a burdened licorice bush
Was blooming round our feet;
Red hair she had and golden skin,
Her sulky lips were shaped for sin,
Her sturdy legs were flannel-slack’d
The strongest legs in Pontefract.


The light and dangling licorice flowers
Gave off the sweetest smells;
From various black Victorian towers
The Sunday evening bells
Came pealing over dales and hills
And tanneries and silent mills
And lowly streets where country stops
And little shuttered corner shops.


She cast her blazing eyes on me
And plucked a licorice leaf;
I was her captive slave and she
My red-haired robber chief.
Oh love! for love I could not speak,
It left me winded, wilting, weak,
And held in brown arms strong and bare
And wound with flaming ropes of hair.

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