Our earth in nineteen sixty nine Is not the planet I call mine, The world, I mean, that gives me strength To hold off chaos at arm’s length. My Eden landscapes and their climes Are constructs from Edwardian times, When bath-rooms took up lots of space, And, before eating, one said Grace. The automobile, the aeroplane, Are useful gadgets, but profane: The enginry of which I dream Is moved by water or by steam. Reason requires that I approve The light-bulb which I cannot love: To me more reverence-commanding A fish-tail burner on the landing. My family ghosts I fought and routed, Their values, though, I never doubted: I thought the Protestant Work-Ethic Both practical and sympathetic. When couples played or sang duets, It was immoral to have debts: I shall continue till I die To pay in cash for what I buy. The Book of Common Prayer we knew Was that of 1662: Though with-it sermons may be well, Liturgical reforms are hell. Sex was of course – it always is – The most enticing of mysteries, But news-stands did not then supply Manichean pornography. Then Speech was mannerly, an Art, Like learning not to belch or fart: I cannot settle which is worse, The Anti-Novel or Free Verse. Nor are those Ph.D’s my kith, Who dig the symbol and the myth: I count myself a man of letters Who writes, or hopes to, for his betters. Dare any call Permissiveness An educational success? Saner those class-rooms which I sat in, Compelled to study Greek and Latin. Though I suspect the term is crap, If there is a Generation Gap, Who is to blame? Those, old or young, Who will not learn their Mother-Tongue. But Love, at least, is not a state Either en vogue or out-of-date, And I’ve true friends, I will allow, To talk and eat with here and now. Me alienated? Bosh! It’s just As a sworn citizen who must Skirmish with it that I feel Most at home with what is Real.