Something ...borne 1954

Tony French

An obscure town in Dorset
‘once visited by Betjeman’
(its only claim to fame)
where gals were boarded
their distant parents having
better things to do than
school-runs twice a day
so Cynthia
(a friend of Wendy’s)
united by giggles
under linen in the dorm
lip-read in lessons
(a mastered art)
great fun too
eavesdropping on staff
posted on playground duty
hints of a possible affair
Miss Placed (geography)
was seen with Madam Stone
(the French mistress
imported from Provence)
together in the Odeon
not watching
‘The Belles of St Trinians’

Meanwhile, the boys,
young men of distinction
their teachers wearing ties
plotted midnight raids
on poets graves
reciting verse over
Elliot’s ashes in East Coker
what a jolly prank
preparation for an adult world
of banking, governing and
marriage with Wendy
and with Cynthia

Sherborne was not always obscure - Alfred the Great attended the monastic school there. The boys school was "re-founded" by Edward VI.

Poetry Atlas has many more poems about Dorset and Somerset.

The great T.S. Eliot, whose ashes are buried in East Coker Church, wrote about East Coker in his Four Quartets.

Read more of Tony French's work at