19 September 2011


After posting the following poem by Roger McGough, a tiny man in my brain whispered - "Sure you've not posted this before?" He kept niggling me when I was at "The Rising Sun" for the Monday night general knowledge quiz and sure enough when I came home I checked this blog's history to find that I had indeed posted the poem before - back in December 2008.

They say that what goes around comes around so does that mean that if you blog for five years or more you just recycle the same old moans and groans, the same memories, the same soapbox expostulations, the same favourite poems and songs? I first read McGough's poem when I was fifteen in an anthology by Liverpool poets that included writings by Adrian Henri and Brian Patten. At the time, their modern urban voices seemed both refreshing and inspirational - very different from other poets I had read - Pope, Shelley and Wordsworth for example.

The idea of dying a "young man's death" seemed appealing. Remember - "age shall not weary them nor the years condemn"? How much sweeter to meet death head on in the full vigour of life than to drift away smelling of wee in a corner of "The Broad Oaks Residential Home" as a TV blasts mindless daytime programmes at a disinterested arthritic audience and a Bulgarian careworker yells "Are you alright love?" in unauthentic English.

Anyway, realising my stupid error, I thought I might delete this post in its entirety. But what the hell? There's no harm in posting McGough's poem again. Is there?
Let me die a youngman'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 tommyguns 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 youngman'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 (1967)


  1. I love Roger McGough's poetry. Nice choice.

  2. I wasn't reading your blog the first time you posted this and, much as I adore your writing, I haven't gone back and read them all. So I'm happy that you repeated it.

  3. ah
    we are at the age when we will continue to repeat ourselves..
    time and time and time again

    dont worry about it YP.... you'll be peeing in the middle of the night and leching after young women soon!

  4. And having a rant about use of the term 'Brits' on my blog! Oh, he's already done that. ;)

  5. Well I was trying to find the words of his other poem "Chaos reigned okay in the classroom" to leave a comment on this blog post - - and couldn't find them, but DID find the link to the 2008 post where I left exactly the same comment that I was going to leave -- - hey ho - -

  6. JAN What! You haven't tracked back to read all my posts? I am bitterly disappointed but glad you liked McGough's poem.
    JOHN GRAY I began "leching" (as you put it) after young women when I was about seven or eight years old and haven't stopped since! Rather than "leching", I'd prefer the term "appreciating the sensual beauty of".
    JENNY Are you sure I ranted about the word "Brit"? I can't remember doing so.
    DAPHNE I will see you in the residential home my dear. We can rock together silently in our upright armchairs, allowing cornflakes and milk to dribble down our chins.

  7. I wasn't around reading your blog back then so I would have missed this fantastic poem if you hadn't repeated it YP. Glad you did.


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