Love Is

The 50th anniversary of the ‘The Mersey Sound’ collection sent me back to my copy and to this poem of Adrian Henri’s which I particularly like.

Love is…

Love is feeling cold in the back of vans
Love is a fanclub with only two fans
Love is walking holding paintstained hands
Love is.

Love is fish and chips on winter nights
Love is blankets full of strange delights
Love is when you don’t put out the light
Love is

Love is the presents in Christmas shops
Love is when you’re feeling Top of the Pops
Love is what happens when the music stops
Love is

Love is white panties lying all forlorn
Love is pink nightdresses still slightly warm
Love is when you have to leave at dawn
Love is

Love is you and love is me
Love is prison and love is free
Love’s what’s there when you are away from me
Love is… 

Adrian Henri

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The Mersey Sound

BlogMerseySoundThe Penguin poetry collection called ‘The Mersey Sound’ was published 50 years ago this year.   That is staggering news since the poetry of all three is alive and relevant right now.  Although it first appeared in 1967, I became aware of it in the 70s when I reached my teens and turned away from the poetry of school and towards poetry I found for myself.  Obviously, I thought I was something of a pioneer when I discovered this volume and was nonplussed when an English teacher knew more about it than I did!  He didn’t bring these poems to class.

I first heard Roger McGough live and in person in Oxford when I was a student and I have heard him in several other places since.  It may be true that poetry is like rock n roll since I have found myself in the audience just hoping he will read my favourites.  He has packed many venues.  When I last heard him, the audience in Bath was terrific.  But that first time, back in Oxford, there were only a few of us.  I know tickets have to be sold, but this was the reading I remember most fondly.

I heard Brian Patten many years later in Bath at the literature festival.  He, too, was fantastic and I would love to hear him again.

I also have a story about Adrian Henri!  He gave a reading at the festival in Bath and I had a ticket.  But I was ill!  I decided to give the evening a miss with the thought that I could always hear him some other time.  Oh, the ifs of history.

‘The Mersey Sound’ is in my hinterland.  What’s in yours?

Any Prince to a Princess

It is about time an Adrian Henri poem appeared on this blog!

Any Prince to a Princess

August is coming
and the goose, I’m afraid,
is getting fat.
There have been
no golden eggs for some months now.
Straw has fallen well below market price
despite my frantic spinning
and the sedge is,
as you rightly point out,
withered.

I can’t imagine how the pea
got under your mattress. I apologize
humbly. The chambermaid has, of course,
been sacked. As has the frog footman.
I understand that, during my recent fact-finding tour of the
Golden River,
despite your nightly unavailing efforts,
he remained obstinately
froggish.

I hope that the Three Wishes granted by the General
Assembly
will go some way towards redressing
this unfortunate recent sequence of events.
The fall in output from the shoe-factory, for example:
no one could have foreseen the work-to-rule
by the National Union of Elves. Not to mention the fact
that the court has been fast asleep
for the last six and a half years.

The matter of the poisoned apple has been taken up
by the Board of Trade: I think I can assure you
the incident will not be
repeated.

I can quite understand, in the circumstances,
your reluctance to let down
your golden tresses. However
I feel I must point out
that the weather isn’t getting any better
and I already have a nasty chill
from waiting at the base
of the White Tower. You must see
the absurdity of the
situation.
Some of the courtiers are beginning to talk,
not to mention the humble villagers.
It’s been three weeks now, and not even
a word.

Princess,
a cold, black wind
howls through our empty palace.
Dead leaves litter the bedchamber;
the mirror on the wall hasn’t said a thing
since you left. I can only ask,
bearing all this in mind,
that you think again,

let down your hair,

reconsider.

Adrian Henri

The poetry of Adrian Henri is in my hinterland.  What’s in yours?

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