Literary Places

‘Dawlish’ by John Betjeman

Early on a summer Sunday morning – Dawlish railway station and sea wall.

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by John Betjeman (1906 – 1984)

Bird-watching colonels on the old sea wall,
Down here at Dawlish where the slow trains crawl:
Low tide lifting, on a shingle shore,
Long-sunk islands from the sea once more:
Red cliffs rising where the wet sands run,
Gulls reflecting in the sharp spring sun;
Pink-washed plaster by a sheltered patch,
Ilex shadows upon velvet thatch:
What interiors those names suggest!
Queen of lodgings in the warm south-west….


© The Estate of Sir John Betjeman and John Murray (Publishers). Reprinted by permission.

Photo © Angela Williams, 2008

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– John Betjeman contributed work to many publications and the poem ‘Dawlish’ was not published in his books. Find out more on the Bibliography page at