Down With Drivel!

April 3rd, 2014

by Linda Morgan

I really enjoyed reading the latest version of Ritelines and was struck by the part of the Rookie Celebrant article that referred to a last minute poetry request, of which he wrote:

“It was called Afterglow, a piece of drivel if ever I heard such.  I was so pleased this young man wanted to read it and not I.”

That comment reminded me of a poem by U A Fanthorpe, which I duly submit to Poet’s Corner with no added comment.


Patience Strong U.A. Fanthorpe

Everyone knows her name. Trite calendars
Of rose-nooked cottages or winding ways
Display her sentiments in homespun verse
Disguised as prose. She has her tiny niche
In women’s magazines, too, tucked away
Among the recipes or near the end
Of some perennial serial. Her theme
Always the same: rain falls in every life,
But rainbows, bluebirds, spring babies or God
Lift up our hearts. No doubt such rubbish sells.
She must be feathering her inglenook.
Genuine poets seldom coin the stuff,
Nor do they flaunt such aptly bogus names.
Their message is oblique; it doesn’t fit
A pocket diary’s page; nor does it pay.

One day in epileptic out-patients,
A working man, a fellow in his fifties,
Was feeling bad. I brought a cup of tea.
He talked about his family and job:
His dad was in the Ambulance Brigade;
He hoped to join, but being epileptic,
They wouldn’t have him, Naturally, he said,
With my disease, I’d be a handicap.
But I’d have liked to help.
He sucked his tea,
Then from some special inner pocket he brought
A booklet muffled up in cellophane,
Unwrapped it gently, opened at a page —
Characteristic cottage garden, seen
Through chintzy casement windows. Underneath
Some cozy musing in the usual vein,
And See, he said, this is what keeps me going.


As my second contribution to Poet’s Corner, this is a poem by my favourite poet, Roger McGough, which my husband has chosen to be read at his funeral.  Again, no comment!


I Am Not Sleeping Roger McGough

I don’t want any of that

“We’re gathered here today

To celebrate his life, not mourn his passing.”

Oh yes you are.  Get one thing straight,

You’re not here to celebrate

But to mourn until it hurts.


I want wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I want sobs, and I want them

Uncontrollable.  I want women

Flinging themselves on the coffin

And I want them inconsolable.


Don’t dwell on my past but on your future.

For what you see is what you’ll be

And sooner than you think.

So get weeping.  Fill yourselves with dread.

For I am not sleeping.  I am dead.