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Betjeman writes about a variety of places for example rural, urban, seaside etcetera. The two poems I have chosen are Slough and Middlesex. In contrast to Slough, Middlesex is more of a gentler poem, which evokes Betjeman’s memories of how rural Middlesex used to be. Betjeman has no memories of Slough but knows he detests it. In Slough Betjeman describe show fake the city is. In Middlesex he tries recollect his memories of the village. Slough seems to keep its rhythm throughout the poem where as in Middlesex the rhythm is fast but then slows down half way through.
One can clearly see that Betjeman does not like Slough as he says in the first line, ‘Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough It isn’t fit for humans now,’ ‘Friendly bombs’ is definitely a contrast because bombs cannot be friendly. In this case the bombs are friendly because according to Betjeman Slough deserves to be bombed because it is so awful. The verse has a jaunty rhythm. Slough is not worth saving. One can clearly see his hatred for Slough in the first verse. He wants the bombs to blow up Slough so there is nothing left mostly because of all the canteens, which serve tinned foods.
In the next verse, Betjeman is saying that we are becoming artificial because we are eating artificial food; there is no more fresh food to be eaten. One can see this view in the next verse: ‘Come, bombs, and blow to smithereens Those air-conditioned, bright canteens Tinned fruit… Tinned minds, tinned breath. ‘ He now has gone from talking about the town and now talks about the food sold in the city, how that’s changed from being natural to tinned which is the new ‘now’ food. One can almost feel Betjeman’s anger because Slough has changed into such a depressing town.
He makes the point that it should be bombed because it is so awful. In the fourth and fifth verses Betjeman talks about how much he hates capitalists, how they always cheat and win. One can tell this as he describes the man as repulsive. He then wants them to suffer as they cause so much pain to women as said in the fourth verse: ‘… Washes his repulsive skin In women’s tears,’ He wants the bombs to fall on them and make them experience pain instead of the women one can see this because he says in the fifth verse: ‘… And smash his hands so used to stroke… And make him yell. ‘