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The Licorice Fields at Pontefract by John Betjeman

The Licorice Fields at Pontefract by John Betjeman

In the licorice fields at Pontefract
My love and I did meet.
And many a burdened licorice bush
Was blooming round our feet;
Red hair she had and golden skin,
Her sulky lips were shaped for sin,
Her sturdy legs were flannel-slack'd
The strongest legs in Pontefract.
The light and dangling licorice flowers
Gave off the sweetest smells;
From various black Victorian towers
The Sunday evening bells
Came pealing over dales and hills
And tanneries and silent mills
And lowly streets where country stops
And little shuttered corner shops.
She cast her blazing eyes on me
And plucked a licorice leaf;
I was her captive slave and she
My red-haired robber chief.
Oh love! for love I could not speak,
It left me winded, wilting, weak,
And held in brown arms strong and bare
And wound with flaming ropes of hair.


Style / type: 
Structured: Eastern
Editing stage: 
Content level: 
Not Explicit Content


The ABAB part isn't there since I see no rhyme for pontefract In the second spot. But It IS an unusual pattern by an Author I'd not read before

I still see it as ababccdd where a few lines don't fit. The first stanza is the one with the most unruly lines.

author comment

Hi, Arrow,
I see the ababccdd here. I, too, had never heard of this poet nor this poem. So glad you chose it! What an earthy flavor and feel! Very inviting and sensual. So earthy to me that I first wondered if he was describing the woman or more intensely, the herb.
Thank you!

You have great taste in poets. Wonderful poem.


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