British Summer Time

I spent last week on holiday in the South-West of England.  As usual, my timing was slightly out: the week I chose turned out to be the last one when we were still plagued by the storms and downpours of The Jet Stream, and it is this week that The British Summer has finally started.

After the days of unbroken blue skies and hot sun we’ve had this week, the sort of weather described in my poem “B.S.T” (i.e. British Summer Time) must seem almost unrecognisable.  The poem was actually written a year ago, and describes a particularly turbulent day I experienced during that Summer.  Re-reading the poem now, I get the sense of bafflement and amazement I felt at the time, witnessing such extremes of weather compressed within such a short span of time.  The wildness and force of what I was watching also provoked a feeling of exhilaration, coupled with a thankfulness that I was safely indoors, observing it all.


I saw it all, sitting, hypnotized;
emotions churning, neurones fried.
Saw it all, motionless, in my armchair.
Watched seasons mingle in the baleful air.
From flickering flashes of febrile sun,
to stygian darkness, glowering gloom.
All on a British summer afternoon.

Pity British weathermen, much maligned.
Their forecasts savaged, their status declined.
Yet British weathermen do not tell lies;
they just can’t contend with such fugitive skies.

Green branches heaved and shook in the blasts;
squirrels, sailor-like, clung to the masts.
Secure in my eyrie, I raised my glass high;
a tribute, saluting those braver than I,
venturing outside, now seeking refuge,
scurrying, like mice, in torrential deluge.
I saw bats, I saw rats, I swear I saw the moon.
All on a British summer afternoon.


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