John Betjeman Poems

John Betjeman was an English poet and broadcaster. He’s remembered as a well-loved figure in the English poetry scene and served as Poet Laureate from 1972 unto his death in 1984. He started his career as a journalist and wrote witty and humorous poems that were easily accessible.

Some of John Betjeman’s most famous poems include Diary of a Church Mouse, Senex, Slough, In Westminster Abbey, and The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel.

The Planster’s Vision

by John Betjeman

‘The Planster’s Vision’ by John Betjeman satirizes the goals of men who indiscriminately demolish buildings of cultural or aesthetic significance.

John Betjeman was England's poet laureate from 1972 until his death in 1984; his writing was defined by its wit and passion. In this poem, the poet exhibits both of those qualities as he rails against the destruction of both human culture/art and the natural world for the sake of industrial expansion. Satirizing the values of those he calls "plansters" who seem to have no regard for anything except their own ambitious vision.

Cut down that timber! Bells, too many and strong,

Pouring their music through the branches bare,

From moon-white church-towers down the windy air

Have pealed the centuries out with Evensong.

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