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Selected Poems by Roger McGough
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Selected Poems

by Roger McGough

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This collection of poems covers the whole span or writings by McGough, from the 60s to this day. Born in Liverpool, he's been called 'The patron saint of poetry' by fellow poet Carol Ann Duffy, and he is one of the most popular poets currently living in England. As can be expected, there was a wide range of topics, styles and tones here. I was drawn to his first poems written in his youth before the harsh realities of life set in, but reading his more mature works, I grew to appreciate his mordant humour and undeniable wit. There's no right or wrong way to go about reading a poetry book, but I learned from this one that it does pay sometimes to read them in order. As I was casually flipping through, I saw a poem called "Happy Ending" which was about a man who walks through a meadow and ends up shooting himself. Great I thought, this guy is a real barrel of laughs. Turns out the previous poem, titled "Rabbit in Mixer Survives" was inspired by an incident reported in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, and is about a rabbit that has survived some great ordeals. It ends on a sad note when a man with a gun approaches the bunny who fails to see his killer. So the Happy Ending of the next poem was actually meant for the bunny, whom the man, about to kill himself, fails to take notice of, which I guess for an animal lover is a consolation after all, and shows that McGough indeed has a wicked sense of humour. I don't know how to review poetry, since it's all new to me, so here is one of his poems that I liked, which also appears on his website:

PAY-BACK TIME

O Lord, let me be a burden on my children
For long they've been a burden upon me.
May they fetch and carry, clean and scrub
And do so cheerfully.

Let them take it in turns at putting me up
Nice sunny rooms at the top of the stairs
With a walk-in bath and lift installed
At great expense.....Theirs.

Insurance against the body-blows of time
Isn't that what having children's all about?
To bring them up knowing that they owe you
And can't contract out?

What is money for but to spend on their schooling?
Designer clothes, mindless hobbies, usual stuff.
Then as soon as they're earning, off they go
Well, enough's enough.

It's been a blessing watching them develop
The parental pride we felt as each one grew.
But Lord, let me be a burden on my children
And on my children's children too. ( )
1 vote Smiler69 | Apr 25, 2012 |
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One of Britain's most popular poets, Roger McGough has written many books for both children and adults. This book includes a selection of some of his finest and best loved verse, featuring new and previously unpublished poems.

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