Roger McGough’s Countryside

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Update: The writer’s block prevails. Hurray!

The countryside must be preserved

(Preferably miles away from me)

Neat hectares of the stuff reserved

For those in need of flower or tree.

I’ll make do with landscape paintind

Film documentaries on TV

And when I need to escape, panting,

Then open-mouthed I’ll head for the sea.

Let others stroll and take their leisure

In grasses that wade up to their knees

For I derive no earthly pleasure

From the green green rash that makes me sneeze.

– Roger McGough, obviously not a countryside lover.

When I first read the first line of this poem, I had half a mind to ignore the rest. But the brackets in the second line made me say- ‘Fine one more line’. Oh wait? Miles AWAY from me? My first thought was that I hadn’t properly understood the line. Maybe it was deep. So I went through it twice over and realised to my greatest satisfaction that dangerous humour, I repeat, dangerous humour is not yet dead. Wuahahaha! Hi-five if you had a similar experience!

I can’t remember what this poem was titled in the original place I read it. But I can guarantee it wasn’t Countryside because then even the first line would never have gained my audience. Because I am no fan of countrysides. (And like McGough, I too am a VERY ocean person. Though nearer to shore.) I have long found poems and prose on the country overrated. And even if one just has to write on the endless stretches of plain crop, a better title is a must. (By the way, any one still on the same page as me, and disliking countrysides  similarly, could try sleeping when you need to pass it.)

Back to Roger McGough. It’s obvious he cares not for the countryside. That is, the narrator McGough, because we can never really judge an author on his creations, specially poems. That would require a great deal of background check, which I, honestly, don’t have time or patience for.

Roger McGough’s poem was gently titillating, a good read. But nothing as spectacular as yesterday’s The Oyester. That was one real string of words.

But I get to my main point. This was a gentle panning, fine. And if Roger McGough was in the government, he might have made some likewise changes, still fine. But what about writing that has much more dangerous implications than this? What about influential writers, and revered literary geniuses that affect their readers so deeply? I know because I love Jeffrey Archer,  and I just realised, that if he had (or indeed has) tried to make me partial against the Prison Service through his diaries, I know I wouldn’t have questioned much.

Roger McGough, I can only say to you- cute poem. But I hope your views on other topics and themes do not often take similar lines.


2 thoughts on “Roger McGough’s Countryside

    madhvi said:
    September 16, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    the name of the poem is ‘conservation piece’
    we had it in one of the sample Q papers of CBSE grade 10.

      Ruchika responded:
      September 17, 2012 at 6:32 AM

      Hey Madhvi!
      Thanks for letting me know. Reminds me of another Conversation Piece actually. Will post it soon.

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