6 December 2008


Let me die a young man's death

Let me die a young man's death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death

When I'm 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I'm 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber's chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommy guns
burst in and give me a short back and insides
Or when I'm 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one

Let me die a young man's death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
'what a nice way to go' death
by Roger McGough


  1. I have never heard of Roger McGough until now but I see that he is quite prominent. This poem certainly captures the spirit of Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," I think.

  2. i have to name-drop now and say I once was in a theatre company which shared an Edinburgh fringe venue with Roger Gough and Brian Patten and jolly good chaps they were too. I've always liked this poem - another favourite is "Chaos reigned okay in the classroom" - it had a lot of resonance with me in my teaching days!

  3. Ditto Plague! I was going to say that. Rage, rage!

  4. it's a bit bloody late for old Goughy, he must be 103...

  5. DOTTEREL I blogged it because some of those words have hung around in my head since the late sixties when I was nobbut a boy.
    RHYMESwithPLAGUE In my bathroom there is a watercolour of Dylan Thomas's boathouse at Laugharne in Wales. He is very special to me. Interesting that you made that connection.
    DAPHNE Well if you can drop names then so can I! I have met the pop singer Lulu twice and on the second occasion she kissed me!
    KATHERINE ...Against the dying of the light. You also made that connection?
    ARTHUR McGough is just a young lad compared with you! Why don't you crack out a couple of poems in your blog about life in North Yorkshire? At times you actually seem like Wm Wordsworth on your rambles by the Swale and through Easby Abbey grounds - raging at the dying of the light!

  6. Lulu kissed you!!?? Wow. I wish Sidney Poitier had kissed me!

  7. presenting 'poetry please' mean's you are no longer a young man, whatever age you may be: you might as well buy a cardigan and a pre-paid funeral plan and make snarling faces at young children


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