10/08/2015

My love for Bristol in a poet's words


 This year I fell in love. Profoundly and meaningfully. With a city.
And as it is indeed a special place, I wasn't the first one falling.
Among others, the most significant is maybe English poet John Betjeman.

Sir John Betjeman famously described Bristol as "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England".

Of course, having passed away in 1984, he didn't get to know all the reasons why I came to love Bristol so deeply. But the words still are beautiful...

Here is his famous poem about the city.


Poem: Bristol by John Betjeman

Bristol waterside
"The flooded Avon shone..." Image: Julian Eley


Green upon the flooded Avon shone the after-storm-wet-sky
Quick the struggling withy branches let the leaves of autumn fly
And a star shone over Bristol, wonderfully far and high.
Ringers in an oil-lit belfry - Bitton? Kelston? who shall say? -
Smoothly practicing a plain course, caverned out the dying day
As their melancholy music flooded up and ebbed away,
Then all Somerset was around me and I saw the clippers ride,
High above the moonlit houses, triple-masted on the tide,
By the tall embattled church-towers of Bristol waterside.
And an undersong to branches dripping into pools and wells
Out of multitudes of elm trees over leagues of hill and dells
Was the mathematic pattern of a plain course on the bells.

Link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/bristol/hi/people_and_places/arts_and_culture/newsid_8118000/8118365.stm
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And you listen to him talk about Bath and Bristol in this video:


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Another poem, by Cathy Keal:

THE DOWNS
by Cathy Keal

Bristol, I've loved a lot of Dogs in my life, a sad excuse to get away and dream.
In the middle of the Downs, you rush to mind.
Bristol, you with your open space, your theatre of light.
Your poet's heart, art on feet on hillsides.
You with your river reed skies, and sun kissed chestnut trees.
The bees, the ritual calling of the breeze as the kite flies.

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