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Friday, 7 December 2018

The Poet Roger McGough

This is a re-post from four years ago:
I went recently, with my younger daughter, Laura, to hear the Liverpool poet Roger McGough reading works from his long career. In the 1960's he used to be in the band Scaffold with Paul McCartney's brother, Mike McGear.
It was in our local library with a small audience and it was a very entertaining evening, both funny and moving by turns. I bought a few books and told him that the last one of his that I bought was as a teenager - many years ago. He looked at me over the top of his glasses with mock horror! He still has an element of that Liverpool wit, long associated with The Beatles.
Roger McGough today

And in the 1960s, left, with the group Scaffold.
Paul McCartney's brother, Mike McGear is in the centre.
Here are a few of his poems to enjoy:

God bless all policemen
and fighters of crime,
May thieves go to jail 
for a very long time. 
They've had a hard day
helping clean up the town,
Now they hang from the mantelpiece
both upside down. 
A glass of warm blood
and then straight up the stairs,
Batman and Robin
are saying their prayers. 
* * *
They've locked all the doors
and they've put out the bat,
Put on their batjamas
(They like doing that) 
They've filled their batwater-bottles
made their batbeds,
With two springy battresses
for sleepy batheads. 
They're closing red eyes
and they're counting black sheep,
Batman and Robin
are falling asleep.
We're the Mafia cats
Bugsy, Franco and Toni
We're crazy for pizza
With hot pepperoni
We run all the rackets
From gambling to vice
On St Valentine's Day
We massacre mice
We always wear shades
To show that we're meanies
Big hats and sharp suits
And drive Lamborghinis
We're the Mafia cats
Bugsy, Franco and Toni
Love Sicilian wine
And cheese macaroni
But we have a secret
(And if you dare tell
You'll end up with the kitten 
At the bottom of the well
Or covered in concrete
And thrown into the deep
For this is one secret
You really must keep.)
We're the Cosa Nostra
Run the scams and the fiddles
But at home we are
Mopsy, Ginger and Tiddles
Lastly, to show that there can be depth as well as humour.....
I explain quietly. You
hear me shouting. You
try a new tack. I
feel old wounds reopen.

You see both sides. I
see your blinkers. I
am placatory. You
sense a new selfishness.

I am a dove. You
recognize the hawk. You
offer an olive branch. I
feel the thorns.

You bleed. I
see crocodile tears. I
withdraw. You
reel from the impact. 
I am listening to Dissatisfied Blues by 
Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee. Listen HERE!


Hels said...

I think I might have written YOU AND I. Or thought it out loud, it least.

"I am a dove. You
recognise the hawk. You
offer an olive branch. I
feel the thorns". Yes, yes, yes!

bazza said...

Hels: I think that might have diluted the idea of two different views of the same sets of words or events!

Parnassus said...

Hello Bazza, I had not known of McGough before your introduction. I have often felt that people with a sense of humor are the most capable of driving home serious points, and Roger McGough is a perfect example.

bazza said...

Hi Jim: Roger McGough was a member of the so-called trio of Liverpool poets which included Adrian Henry and Brian Patten. They rose to national prominence in the 1960s when Liverpool became the centre of UK and world culture for a while.

Sherry Ellis said...

The Batman poem is cute. I can imagine them putting on their bat-jammas.

Thanks for sharing.

bazza said...

Sherry: Thanks for visiting! He is a very funny poet but, as you can see, he has other qualities.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

What delightful poetry! Even people who think they don't "like" poetry would have to appreciate the humor in the first two pieces. The third? Love it!

bazza said...

Susan: My feelings EXACTLY! I have posted quite a lot of 'comic' verse here. Not just because it's funny but because it's so clever and often insightful and, most of all, it's good poetry!