"Roger McGough, while an amusing story teller, writes poetry that is too light to be meaningful"

Essay by freelunchbrianHigh School, 11th gradeB, September 2007

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Roger McGough's poems are, with no doubt, light and humorous. However, this style of poetry does not hinder McGough's attempt to deliver his message, but allows his approach to be more friendly and personal, and thus more successful and effective. These poems, 'Why Patriots Are a Bit Nuts in the Head', 'My Busconductor', and 'Streemin', successfully deliver the theme.

The poem 'Why Patriots Are a Bit Nuts in the Head' satirises people who are patriotic by emphasising that "lives are good for you". The poem is written in first person, and with the use of colloquial language, such as "have your belly shot away", successfully persuade the readers to re-evaluate attitude towards war. The poem argues that "lives are good for you" by providing examples of enjoyments in life, such as going out with girls. The humorous comment on going to bed with girls targets a specific age group, as these people are mostly likely to be sent to war.

This allows the poem to be more engaging, and a more friendly way to communicate to readers. The strong image of 'seeds' spreading over the field reinforces the initial argument, that patriots are a bit nuts in the head.

'My Busconductor' describes a day of the bus conductor's journey, whose life is soon going to end. It reminds readers that death is inevitable, and invites the readers to see life 'through new glasses'. The images of the bus conductor holding a ticket like a rose and put it into the bag like a child putting the shilling into the gas meter shows the bus conductor's attitudes towards the finite life, with the repetition in the last two lines 'one day he'll clock on and never clock off or clock off and never clock on' also emphasises the bus conductor's approach to the last stage of life.

The poem 'Streemin' comments on how the grading of students at school is inappropriate. McGough argues that, once people die, they are of no differences. McGough uses misspelt words and colloquial to indicate that the narrator has limited academic ability and is 'in the bottom streme'. This narrator effectively persuades the readers as it is ironic to have 'divishns' during lifetime when they all even out at the end.

These poems by McGough deliver the message effectively with his style of using colloquial language and first person narrator. 'Why Patriots Are a Bit Nuts in the Head' persuades readers to believe that to be a patriot is to spread your seeds over the field by emphasising "lives are good for you". 'My Busconductor' ask readers to see life differently, by showing us the bus conductor's work journey when approaching to death. 'Streemin' expresses McGough's thoughts of having divisions at school to separate students of different academic ability. Through a voice of a 'not bright' student, he mocks the streaming system by suggesting that people are all the same at the cemetery. With his engaging approach, these poems are easy to digest and are persuasive.