Grantchester, oh Grantchester

by | Jul 25, 2012 | Best of British, Comic Verse,, Seasons | 0 comments

With apologies to Rupert Brooke

Just now the lilacs aren’t in bloom
all before his little room,
and from his flower beds I think
have gone the carnation, and the pink,
and in his borders well I know
poppies and pansies no longer blow.

Grantchester, oh Grantchester!
There should be peace and quiet there.
Rupert Brooke would have a fit
if he went back to visit it.
There’s two scruffy huts, one called a tea room
and a museum just filled with gloom.

As he wrote a century before –
the river beckons to its shore.
But did we go there? Du lieber Gott!
There we were, sweating, sick, and hot,
transfixed in that very spot,
that now is just a parking lot.

Temperamentvoll German tourists
march, swinging cameras on their wrists,
other Europeans saunter by in gangs
chattering in unintelligible twangs,
and Americans do loudly utter –
they want burgers with bread and butter.

Yet laughs the immortal river still
under the now converted mill.
The clock no longer stands at ten to three,
and there are no muffins now for tea.
We were not there in time, you see
no food can be ordered after three! 

Rupert Brooke’s “Grantchester” poem (Cafe des Westens, Berlin, May 1912) and recited on Youtube