Blazing Fruit

Written By: - Date published: 9:11 am, March 13th, 2011 - 7 comments
Categories: climate change, Media - Tags: ,

Apropos of nothing in particular, one of my favourite poems:

BLAZING FRUIT
(or The Role of the Poet as Entertainer)
by Roger McGough

During dinner the table caught fire.
No one alluded to the fact
and we ate on, regardless of
the flames singeing our conversation.

Unaware of the smoke
and the butlers swooning,
topics ranged from Auden
to Zefferelli. I was losing
concentration however, and being
short on etiquette, became tense
and began to fidget with the melting cutlery.

I was fashioning a spoon
into a question mark
when the Chablis began to steam
and bubble. I stood up,
mumbled something about having left the gas running
and fled blushing
across the plush terrain of the carpet.

The tut-tut-tutting could be heard above
the cra-cra-cracking of the bone china.

Outside, I caught a cab
to the nearest bus stop.
While, back at the table,
they were toying with blazing fruit
and discussing the Role of the Poet as Entertainer,
when the roof fell in.

(poem from Holiday on Death Row by Roger McGough (Jonathan Cape, 1979).

All of my posts for March will finish with this note. While life goes on as usual outside Christchurch, let our thoughts be with those who are coping with the aftermath, with the sorrow of so many who were lost, and with the challenges ahead.

7 comments on “Blazing Fruit”

  1. ianmac 2

    Another version of the “Emperor Key Who had No Clothes While Rome Burned,” by Envy Spinner.

  2. Oleolebiscuitbarrell 3

    My favourite Roger McGough is:

    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.

    • r0b 3.1

      Yeah! Once saw McGough reading live at the Zap Club in Brighton. Quite a highlight! Here’s another:

      Let me die a youngman’s death

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

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

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

  3. nzP 4

    The good thing about not knowing Roger McCough exists is that one day someone shows you something he wrote.

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