Let There Be Dragons

Sometimes when sleep fails to come
I ride the midnight bus again
Leaving Hertford for Heathrow
And all the way back
Watching the sun and dawn arrive
The seven two four
Is not an attractive route
It is a workhorse
Connecting airports and stations
What they call interchanges
Harlow, Hertford, Welwyn
Hatfield, St Albans, Watford
Half asleep I travel country roads again
Once in darkness now lit
By dreams and reveries
Of a countryside millennia past
Slowly sleepy eyes notice villages again
From Cole Green to Mill Green
Hill End to Harefield
Denham Green
And past Pield Heath
Here dragons flew
Protecting Nature
And the four elements
The very essence of
The circle of life
And those who keep faith with the old ways
Then the black knights came
Slew the dragons
But some survived
Fires almost extinguished
But not totally
Unable to stop the knights
Building factories to choke the air
And emptying sewerage to poison the rivers
The black knights planted bricks
On crops of wheat and barley
To suffocate the land
With houses for dormitory towns
No one works the farms anymore
It is left to machines
The churches are empty
They were always cold
Now the alehouses are too
Village inns are deserted
Even Sir John Betjeman’s Bear
Open only for Sunday lunch
As the seven two four draws back into Hertford
I am awake again
A fiery red sun rises in the east
Heralding a new day
Somewhere a dragon stirred

The full version of Sir John Betjeman’s The Village Inn is here.

More Betjeman’s poems here at Amazon.

Index to all my poems