Ludlow Fare

(For the menu of a Housman Society annual dinner)

With spring a raw beginner
    Beneath the heavens’ arch,
Once more the yearly dinner
    At Ludlow in mid-March
Assembles here such members
    As pay a modest fee
To fan the embers
     Of Laurence, Clem, A.E.

The Shropshire fields all spotted
     By snow these chill-struck Ides,
Seats indoors are allotted,
     Top table, end, or sides,
Where scholars east of Dover
     In thrall to Bromsgrove's best
Join Yankees, over
     For England’s Housmanfest.

Ah, when it's ‘Charge your glasses!’
    And compliments are paid,
Will any note if passes,
    Punctilious, a shade
That eyes this annual flocking
    But off again soon slips,
The great lad's mocking
    Smile on its lips?

Jerome Betts

If you have any comments on this poem, Jerome Betts  would be pleased to hear from you.