In the Garden City Cafe with its murals on the wall
Before a talk on 'Sex and Civics' I meditated on the fall.
Deep depression settled on me under that electric glare
While outside the lightsome poplars flanked the rose-beds in the square.
While outside the carefree children sported in the summer haze
And released their inhibitions in a hundred different ways.
She who eats her greasy crumpets snuggled in her inglenook
Of some birch-enshrouded homestead, dropping butter on her book.
Can she know the deep depression of this bright, hygienic hell?
And her husband, stout free-thinker, can he share in it as well?
Not the folk-museum's charting of man's progress out of slime
Can release me from the painful seeming accident of time.
Barry smashes Shirley's dolly, Shirley's eyes are crossed with hate,
Comrades plot a comrade's downfall 'In the interests of the State.'
Not my vegetarian dinner, not my lime juice minus gin,
Can quite shake the faint conviction that we may be born in sin.
-Sir John Betjeman-