Roger McGough You’ve Gotalot To Answerfor

Roger McGough
you’ve gotalot

to answerfor.

let me guess
that policeman disguised as the sun
is straight from TheSixties
where you swapped
your tried and teacher punctuation
and famous last wordbreaks
for flowerhair pot
and not-so-holywater rock.

it was theseventies
i was sixteen and hadneverbeen —
when your poems
cameclose and crept-in

with a word like
finished me off
and i ran alltheway
from home
ditching my shoes with their broken
high ideals

and although i am still
takingoff my dress of guilt
these days my mother might be
a real bird in a real tree

and my words have not
an old woman’s death
and justquietly
its muchlovelater.


A tribute to Roger McGough and his poems Comeclose and Sleepnow, The Icingbuss, and Let Me Die A Youngman’s Death. 

Comeclose and Sleepnow

The Icingbus

Let Me Die A Youngman’s Death

In response to


9 thoughts on “Roger McGough You’ve Gotalot To Answerfor

  1. Oooooh! Why am I not surprised that I had never heard of Roger McGough! There must be thousands of British poets I have never read, but I’m indebted to you for introducing me to this one very delightful human being who just happens to be a poet! Your tribute poem is off the charts wonderful! But what six-letter word did you have in mind in your third stanza? I’m guessing it must be a little raunchy! Right? Wait! SEXUAL! That will work! I’ll bet that’s it! Yay for me!! And to think I was going for the “F-word”!!


    1. actually Ron, I wanted the emphasis to stay on “neverbeen” and for there to be a slightly longer pause there. Maybe a comma would have done it but certainly didn’t want to uses one of those! an em dash? or an ellipsis on that next line. I tried lots of possibilities. maybe just using an upper case B, neverBeen. that just might work… or if I indent “when”… (a few thousand drafts later…)

      These three Roger McGough poems were in a school curriculum anthology when I was a teenager. (with long line of wonderful modern poets) What a gift for a virgin radical! McGough particularly inspired me and I wrote my first few poems (and my teacher sent them away and they were published!) I immediately loved the writing of poems and the miracle of editing, but I didn’t seriously apply myself till I was in my forties.

  2. I really enjoyed this. The language dances and I loved the merging of words. This crackles for me. 🙂

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