(Poem #1335) Balloon Fight
'This morning, the American, Steve Fossett, ended his Round-The-World balloon fight...I'm sorry, balloon "flight"...in northern India.' - The Today Programme, Radio 4, 20 January 1997 It ended in Uttar Pradesh. It had to. You can't go around the world attacking people with balloons and expect to get away with it. What may be mildly amusing at children's parties in Upper Manhattan will not seem so funny ha ha on the Falls Road. How Fossett fought his way across the former Yugoslavia I'll never know. Some folk never grow up. Hang on to their childhood. Believing in the Tooth Fairy, watched over by the Man in the Moon. Thank you, Mr Newsreader, for bringing him down to earth. For bursting his balloon.
I had to laugh out loud when I read this poem, at the sheer *image* of our intrepid hero working his way around the world and hitting unsuspecting people with balloons. As a child, McGough came as something of a revelation - I had always loved poetry, but only if it rhymed and scanned. McGough was the first poet to show me that modern poetry could be pleasurable, and here, watching him turn a simple slip of the tongue into a wonderful piece of whimsy, I'm glad to say that the magic hasn't faded. martin