Mortality

A poem by John Betjeman

The first-class brains of a senior civil servant
Shiver and shatter and fall
As the steering column of his comfortable Humber
Batters in the bony wall.
All those delicate re-adjustments
"On the one hand, if we proceed
With the ad hoc policy hitherto adapted
To individual need...
On the other hand, too rigid an arrangement
Might, of itself, perforce...
I would like to submit for the Minister's concurrence
The following alternative course,
Subject to revision and reconsideration
In the light of our experience gains..."
And this had to happen at the corner where the by-pass
Comes into Egham out of Staines.
That very near miss for an All Souls' Fellowship
The recent compensation of a 'K' -
The first-class brains of a senior civil servant
Are sweetbread on the road today.

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