e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

The poetry of bank hols

Today is a bank (i.e. national) holiday in the UK. It’s called Spring Bank holiday but celebrates nothing in particular. The weather has been great all weekend so many people have gone away to the country or seaside.

pic of John LubbockHaving taken time off or extra pay at bank holidays the whole of my working life, I decided it was time I knew a bit more about them. As usual Wikipedia had an article. The Bank of England has given itself days off since forever, but the official creation of modern bank hols was in 1871 when a Liberal MP, Sir John Lubbock, introduced the Bank Holidays Act. So popular was this Act that some people referred to the days as St Lubbock’s days.

There are quite a few poems about bank holidays.

One by Clare Foges is called Bank Holiday and begins:

We were the only ones on the pier
under a heavy sky, grey like something coming.

which most Britons will recognise as fairly typical of bank holiday weather.

Another by Val Warner looks at the End of Another Bank Holiday with a more positive take:

Arterial roads yield the mobile mass
End of a perfect day, whose chariot
Running in fast cars tail each other home.

Both these poems are quite long and it’s well worth reading the whole of them. There are many others worth looking for and reading.

Picture from Mark Patton Reflections of a first-time biographer, where there are details of the biography of Sir John.


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