Guest poem sent in by Zubaer Mahboob
(Poem #1100) A Good Poem
I like a good poem one with lots of fighting in it. Blood, and the clanging of armour. Poems against Scotland are good, and poems that defeat the French with crossbows. I don't like poems that aren't about anything. Sonnets are wet and a waste of time. Also poems that don't know how to rhyme. If I was a poem I'd play football and get picked for England.
This poem brought a wide, knowing grin to my face when I first read it. I suspect that it will resonate with many other readers who were frustrated at an early age by poetry that appeared wilfully obscure and who, even now, shudder at some of the more inscrutable stuff that escapes all efforts at analysis and understanding. The charm of the poem lies in its directness and honesty. Through the poet's empathetic voice, the adolescent reader tells us just what he thinks of poetry, and how he would like his cuppa. Who would deny him the sweet irresistible pleasures of narrative verse, of poetry that rhymes and rollicks and rolls off the tongue? Many of us, I'm sure, can still rattle off from memory reams and reams of our favorite poems - think Browning's "The Pied Piper" or Scott's "Young Lochinvar". (I especially like the tongue-in-cheek "Also poems that don't/ know how to rhyme", given that the poem itself doesn't rhyme either!) [It's even more tongue-in-cheek than that - the one rhyme in the poem is "sonnets are wet and/ a waste of time/ also poems that don't/ know how to rhyme" - martin] McGough comes from Liverpool and rose to prominence in the 1960's. He has been described by Betjeman as "long, tall, thin, and with drooping moustaches." -Zubaer [Martin adds] We were way overdue for a McGough poem - he used to be my favourite modern poet (indeed, practically the only one I really liked) when I was a kid, and it's poems like this that explain why. "If I was a poem/ I'd play football/ and get picked for England" is an utterly original, and utterly brilliant perspective on poetry, one that cuts through the reams of deconstruction and analysis and speaks of the universal pleasure of a good poem. -martin Links: Biography, and a sadly moustacheless picture http://www.contemporarywriters.com/authors/?p=auth202&state=index%3Dm An interview with McGough: http://www.mystworld.com/youngwriter/authors/roger_mcgough.html