Let Me Die a Youngman’s Death

by Roger McGough

Let me die a youngman’s death
not a clean & 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
& sitting in a barber’s chair
may rival gangsters with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
& give me a short back & insides

Or when I’m 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
& fearing her son
cut me up into little pieces
& throw away every piece but one

Let me die a youngman’s death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax & waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
‘what a nice way to go’ death

Just for a change I thought you’d like a poem.

This is from The Mersey Sound, number 10 in the Penguin series of Modern Poets. I bought it when it first came out in 1967 and it remains in my Top Ten books of poetry.

The three poets who made up the Mersey Sound were Adrian Henri (Birkenhead-born but raised in Rhyl), Roger McGough and Brian Patten. I saw them perform live once in Basildon and once in Great Yarmuth.

Three poets sitting on a stage reading their own poetry – it was brilliant both times.

Published by Robin

I'm a retired journalist who still has stories to tell. This seems to be a good place to tell them.

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