Hugh Thompson shares a salute to Putney poet Gavin Ewart
Just before he died Philip Larkin wrote a poem in praise of his friend and Putney’s most famous modern poet. He wrote it to celebrate Gavin Ewart’s (1916-1995) birthday.
Ewart was born in London and educated at Wellington College before entering Christ's College, Cambridge where he received a B.A. in 1937 and an M.A. in 1942. After active service as a Royal Artillery officer during World War II, he worked in publishing and with the British Council before becoming an advertising copywriter in 1952.
Ewart is remembered with a blue plaque on Kenilworth Court, Lower Richmond Road.
Good for you, Gavin
It's easy to write when you've nothing to write about
(That is, when you are young),
The heart-shaped hypnotics the press is polite about
Rise from an unriven tongue.
Later on, attic'd with the all-too-familiar
Tea chests of truth-sodden grief,
The pages you scrap sound like school songs, or sillier,
Banal beyond belief.
So good for you, Gavin, for having stayed sprightly
While keeping your eye on the ball;
Your riotous road-show's like Glenlivet nightly,
A warming to us all.
July 6, 2020