Bruce Beresford has chosen two favourite poems.
The reader is Lionel Farrell.
"On Seeing an Old Poet in the Café Royal" by John Betjeman
I saw him in the Café Royal.
Very old and very grand.
Modernistic shone the lamplight
There in London’s fairyland.
“Devilled chicken. Devilled whitebait.
Devil if I understand.
Where is Oscar? Where is Bosie?
Have I seen that man before?
And the old one in the corner,
Is it really Wratislaw?”
Scent of Tutti-Frutti-Sen-Sen
And cheroots upon the floor.
"All the Happiness Ahead" by Michael Cullup
Reclining in our armchairs, overfed,
we learn of floods and earthquakes, millions dead,
switch to a film or football match instead.
In his basket, bought from Habitat,
sleeps our pampered, black, half-Burmese cat
curled up in satisfaction, sleek and fat.
Our suppers cleared away, we lie in bed,
snug beneath the duvet’s feathered spread,
and dream of all the happiness ahead.
Tomorrow’s excess of comfort, thick-sliced toast,
lashings of marmalade, and lots of post,
plans for an outing, possibly to the coast.
Though miles beyond our curtains crowds are killed
and millions die on soil that lies untilled,
fruit falls upon our sward and we are filled.
Recordings by John Izzard.