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McGough Roger McGough
(b.1937)

"the most unforgettable
character
i've ever met
gives advice
to the young poet"

GIVE POETRY A BAD NAME

May your poems run away from home
and live between the lines.
May they break and enter, assault and batter,
and loiter in the mind with intent.
May they invite the critics for dinner
and leave before the main course.
May they put a hand up the Muses skirt
(only to find Robert Graves' hand already there).
May the dying be anointed with them
and the living vaccinated against them.
May they walk in our sleep
and talk while we are talking.
May they leave understains on the memory.

 
CREEP UP ON POETRY WHILE SHE'S FEEDING THE DUCKS

May your poems run riots
and sit outside courts where Justice has grown flabby.
May they exceed the brain limit
and never stop for hitchhikers.
May they stick in the craw of the law
and fly in the face of gifthorses.
May they bushwack bandwagons
then take to the hills.
May they break new wind.

 
WHILST RAPING POETRY KEEP HER AT ARM'S LENGTH
(you will thus be more easily identified later).

May your poems save us.
Save us from those who peddle pornography
and who are not sensual.
Save us from those who screw in front of our children.
Save us from those who would replace God
with an autographed picture of themselves.
Save us from those who think they should lead
because they have followers.
Save us from those who think they should lead
because they want followers.
Save us from those who think they are right.
Save us from those who think you are right.

 
WHEN POETRY SCREAMS AT YOU THREATEN TO TAKE UP PAINTING

May your poems act their rage
and cry out against the wilderness you have chosen.
May they spit blood into the wind
and once written, seldom regain consciousness.
May they close their eyes and walk in the dark.
May they brandish themselves in undreamed chasms
like a blindman's stick.
May they be seen and heard.
May they ask the unaskable.
Question the unquestionable.
Eke out the unekeoutable
May they ring from the rafters
Live happy ever afters.
May they be damned, and published.

© Roger McGough
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