Roger McGough's latest collection of poems continues with the themes he dealt with in his previous collection "That Awkward Age". Awareness of his own mortality, acceptance of his fate, reminiscences of childhood and his ever-magical play on words make for a safe harbour for the soul. As he puts it: "Take comfort from this/ You have a book in your hand/Not a loaded gun or a parking fine." McGough leaves us with this sense of comfort by never seeming to refer to the all-too-present menaces and anxieties of the modern world. But beware: he is not offering escape, merely a temporary refuge from our predicament.In the poem "Defence", he shows that he is fully aware of political matters. In the splendidly evocative poem about childhood "Another Time, Another Place", he shows his understanding of how childhood memory can deceive and disturb at the same time. His "intimations of mortality", to paraphrase Wordsworth, are shown at their most poignant in "Not for Me a Youngman's Death", which is a follow-up to his famous "Let Me Die a Young Man's Death". Roger now owns up to the fact that death is not so romantic after all and that of young men even less so: "Not a gun in hand,in a far-off land, IED at the roadside, death." Yet, through his sad acceptance of the march of time, He can still make us smile, as seen in "And So to Bed", which shows the famous McGough wit to be as potent as ever.Go on, get some comfort and buy this book.
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