Spike Milligan. I knew you were ill

I was reading a Spike Milligan
book this morning and
thought I would laugh for
the rest of the live long day;

then I read his poem
“Manic Depression”
and forty three words later
he re-defines in every dictionary written
the real meaning of “Pain”.

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011

Spike Milligan, Actor, Author, Musician, Goon, Genius. My favourite.
This is my humble tribute to a fellow sufferer of depression. He wrote “Manic Depression” whilst in St. Lukes Wing of Woodside Hospital, Pyschiatric Wing1953-4 in December 1960. I urge you to check out his stuff, his books are a rollercoaster of emotions laid out like ( I imagine) his life; page after page, funny poem, laugh out loud limerick, funny anecdote then crashing magnificent lines like “Manic Depression”. I did not know him but I would have given my left leg to spend one hour with him. He played the trumpet, I like the trumpet as well.

Oh that these words were mine

Once again I find myself cutting and pasting from the internet. If I should write anything as wonderful inspiring as this I could die a happy man.

W.H. Auden: Stop all the Clocks

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

This was Franks favourite poem. However he did not want it to be his eulogy. Instead, I rose from my pew and said the words of his favourite Goon, the immortal Spike Milligan “I told you I was Ill”, I sat down and laughed for I knew he was sat next to me, holding my hand, telling me it was either going to rain or get dark tomorrow and just like either of these universal truths he would always be my friend. I am sure he whispered “Count your blessings, not your possessions”

Colleagues and relatives were moved to a mixture of both tears of joy and utter, inconsolable sorrow. Anyone who knew Frank (and I am blessed to say I was but one), knew this was the only way he wanted to say goodbye.

Frank believed if you knew this poem you truly knew the person for whom you were grieving.


This is how wars begin

Just because you can’t spell
colour and
every poem I have to tag twice;

one for you,
one for the Queen,
one to be wrong
and one to be right;
not rite!

Irony is not a metal
you drop two letters at the most;
put them back and acknowledge
what the rest of the world
already knows.

I must take deep breaths now,
relax and read “The Wife of Bath”;
“Bright Star” will calm my soul,
Spike Milligan will make me laugh.

It is my duty
as an English Poet
to make Shakespeare
even greaterer;
now I have to go
I am going with no apologies
out to the Royal National

© Copyright D. Archer October 2011 

16.10.11 Spot the change. I elevated myself a little too high me thinks.
Thanks to Miss Audrey for making me think.