Sunday, 7 July 2013

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn

All this talk of tennis this week leads me to thoughts of strawberries and Pimms [or in this household the gnatbottomed Tesco equivalent of Jeeves currently on offer for a fiver!]. It has also reminded me of this poem which I have an 'orrible feeling I first encountered back in my school days- I am old enough to have had blackboards in the classroom, written with a proper fountain pen and staggered around, knuckles dragging along the ground with a baby elephant's weight in books in my bag! Hope you enjoy it.

A Subaltern's Love Song

Miss J. Hunter Dunn, Miss J. Hunter Dunn,
Furnish’d and burnish’d by Aldershot sun,
What strenuous singles we played after tea,
We in the tournament – you against me!
Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,
The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,
With carefullest carelessness, gaily you won,
I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn.
Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
How mad I am, sad I am, glad that you won,
The warm-handled racket is back in its press,
But my shock-headed victor, she loves me no less.
Her father’s euonymus shines as we walk,
And swing past the summer-house, buried in talk,
And cool the verandah that welcomes us in
To the six-o’clock news and a lime-juice and gin.
The scent of the conifers, sound of the bath,
The view from my bedroom of moss-dappled path,
As I struggle with double-end evening tie,
For we dance at the Golf Club, my victor and I.
On the floor of her bedroom lie blazer and shorts,
And the cream-coloured walls are be-trophied with sports,
And westering, questioning settles the sun,
On your low-leaded window, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.
The Hillman is waiting, the light’s in the hall,
The pictures of Egypt are bright on the wall,
My sweet, I am standing beside the oak stair
And there on the landing’s the light on your hair.
By roads “not adopted”, by woodlanded ways,
She drove to the club in the late summer haze,
Into nine-o’clock Camberley, heavy with bells
And mushroomy, pine-woody, evergreen smells.
Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
I can hear from the car park the dance has begun,
Oh! Surrey twilight! importunate band!
Oh! strongly adorable tennis-girl’s hand!
Around us are Rovers and Austins afar,
Above us the intimate roof of the car,
And here on my right is the girl of my choice,
With the tilt of her nose and the chime of her voice.
And the scent of her wrap, and the words never said,
And the ominous, ominous dancing ahead.
We sat in the car park till twenty to one
And now I’m engaged to Miss Joan Hunter Dunn.

John Betjeman.

Arilx

2 comments:

  1. Happy birthday to Mr GBT and do remind me not to try lemon balm wine - I'll attempt it as an addition to marmalade making first, I think. :)

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  2. Thanks for dropping in Nyk. It may of course only be our version of lemon balm wine that was hideous! The addition to marmalade is a new one to me...I shall be adding that to the frugal notebook forthwith. My SIL mentioned today that she uses it with new potatoes instead of mint. That's what I like- a multiuse edible plant!
    Arilx

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