What did Slough ever do to John Betjeman?

Here's another poem I first read in the Sixth Form. It was in the collection Poetry of the Thirties, edited by Robin Skelton, which was our set text for English Literature A-level.

There's something about the gleeful malice of Betjeman's prayer, or curse, whichever it is, that you can't help loving. He was fascinated by suburbia even while he snobbishly despised it. Yet he also feels a sympathy for the 'bald young clerks' who are forced to toil for the 'repulsive' 'stinking cad' who is portrayed as a rapacious, lecherous, sexist capitalist.

Slough probably doesn't deserve this. I expect it's a decent enough place to live. It can't help sounding like one of the more depressing places described in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, can it?

#poems