My dearest Betjeman, you warm old heart
of innocence and English loveliness;
we never met, nor do we share all things;
but ties of sympathy, I must confess,
reveal themselves within my deepest part.
What smiles before us, and what comes between ?
Well, love of architecture, strong to please!
But, still… the Gothic and Victorian?
Come, now, what twisted vines of brick are these,
As spiritual as they often seem?
You fell for Pusey’s wanton rhetoric:
“medieval spires spell Christianity”,
but how did Hawksmoor, Gibbs, and Archer fare?
Are pointed arches all humanity,
and glass, all stained, the builder’s’s only trick?
Yet there’s no fault in loving, I suppose,
what still reflects imagination’s muse:
— opposed, as ever, to the modern Cube —
facades which, fanciful, will not abuse
the credulous, nor art (entire) depose.
As far as poesy, we’re closer kin,
for you would not abandon rhyme at whim,
unlike the wretched cretins’ dissonance,
and in your doubt of God, still loving Him,
produce a simple song: a joyous din.