Let Me Die A Youngman’s Death

February 28, 2013
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An interesting poem reflecting one man’s struggle with his thoughts on lifestyle and recent death of his father.

“I wrote “Let Me Die a Youngman’s Death” in my early twenties, when I thought ‘live fast and die young’. I failed on both counts! It was not long after my father had died and I must have been coping with that… it stirred up the Dylan Thomas effect. It was Carol Ann Duffy who got in touch because she was writing about older poets, and she said ‘why not revisit it?’” – Roger McGough

Let Me Die A Youngman’s Death

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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

– Roger McGough

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