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Mirror, Mirror -- Spike Milligan

Guest poem submitted by Kamalika Chowdhury:

It's been a while since you've run Spike Milligan on the Minstrels. I
thought this one would make a good addition to the archive.
(Poem #1661) Mirror, Mirror
 A young spring-tender girl
 combed her joyous hair
 'You are very ugly' said the mirror.
 But,
 on her lips hung
 a smile of dove-secret loveliness,
 for only that morning had not
 the blind boy said,
 'You are beautiful'?
-- Spike Milligan
"Spike was entirely his own mad Irish self. He came out of nowhere."
Comedian Stephen Fry's tribute to Milligan's talent speaks perfectly for his
poems. Among the typically crazy comic fare of his verse, there lie poems
that convey a less cavalier and more poignant voice - these are rarer, but
equally memorable. One such is "The Soldiers at Lauro" (Poem #831 on the
Minstrels).

Browsing through Milligan's work, I found another lovely little poem, that
deviates from the norm. This one is not dire and helpless in tone on the
lines of ".. Lauro"; in fact it is soft-textured and full of light, like the
girl's "dove-secret loveliness" and "joyous hair". Nonetheless, it manages
to very gently bring home a huge point about life, love and happiness.

Milligan's touch has a salt-of-the-earth quality to it that makes it
immediately credible. He does not disguise the young girl's objective
ugliness in mirror-image, just as he manages to completely convey her
new-found beauty from within. And what a master wordsmith he was! I can't
imagine a better way to say so much in a single line than: "on her lips
hung/ a smile of dove-secret loveliness".

Kamalika.

45 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

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He wrote comedy songs, including "Purple Aeroplane", which was a parody of The Beatles' song "Yellow Submarine". Glimpses of his bouts with depression, which led to the nervous breakdowns, can be found in his serious poetry, which is compiled in Open Heart University.

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