Roger McGough

(November 9 - 1937 / Liverpool / England)

The Lesson - Poem by Roger McGough

Chaos ruled OK in the classroom
as bravely the teacher walked in
the nooligans ignored him
his voice was lost in the din

'The theme for today is violence
and homework will be set
I'm going to teach you a lesson
one that you'll never forget'

He picked on a boy who was shouting
and throttled him then and there
then garrotted the girl behind him
(the one with grotty hair)

Then sword in hand he hacked his way
between the chattering rows
'First come, first severed' he declared
'fingers, feet or toes'

He threw the sword at a latecomer
it struck with deadly aim
then pulling out a shotgun
he continued with his game

The first blast cleared the backrow
(where those who skive hang out)
they collapsed like rubber dinghies
when the plug's pulled out

'Please may I leave the room sir? '
a trembling vandal enquired
'Of course you may' said teacher
put the gun to his temple and fired

The Head popped a head round the doorway
to see why a din was being made
nodded understandingly
then tossed in a grenade

And when the ammo was well spent
with blood on every chair
Silence shuffled forward
with its hands up in the air

The teacher surveyed the carnage
the dying and the dead
He waggled a finger severely
'Now let that be a lesson' he said


Comments about The Lesson by Roger McGough

  • Mahtab Bangalee (5/7/2019 4:16:00 AM)

    'Now let that be a lesson' he said // at last the end comes with great reply; love this great poem (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • (3/9/2019 8:39:00 AM)

    What a ghastly strategy to give a life long lesson. Nice poem, thanks for sharing. (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • (3/6/2019 3:21:00 PM)

    wow this poem is so bruttle (Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • (2/20/2019 5:54:00 AM)

    What a boring voice reading this poem! ! ! ! ! There is interest in the voice at all, no intonation and just dull. (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • (12/28/2018 11:05:00 PM)

    The poem is describing teacher and student violence thus its nice poem thanks (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • (12/24/2018 9:28:00 PM)

    Oh my goodness the imagery alone is powerful. (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • (5/21/2018 3:23:00 AM)

    A masterful use of irony to denounce violence in schools.
    I see a connection between this poem which tells the story of a teacher going amok and a Chilean movie, Relatos salvajes, which tells the story of various people on the edge of a nervous breakdown (this is an understatement) .
    A brilliantly outrageous way to use violence so as to make it visible
    (Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • (5/20/2018 7:23:00 PM)

    this is is hahahahhhahahahhahahhahahaha i will put A COPYRITE claim as this contains violence. i hated it because it had so much violence and the teacher should get arrested. this is a fantastic news source (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • (5/20/2018 7:18:00 PM)

    this is a amazing poem i really enjoyed the part where they raped all the
    black s
    (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • (4/30/2018 2:33:00 AM)

    It is amazing how many people have missed the point here. I look forward to telling Roger McGough how I used this funny poem in class. (Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (4/4/2018 8:42:00 AM)

    Haha, talk about a cat amongst the pigeons! A breath of fresh air in these stultifying times of political correctness! ! (Report)Reply

    8 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (3/20/2018 12:04:00 PM)

    This poem was written over thirty years ago, to condemn it for the subsequent societal developments in the US is just silly. (Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (2/27/2018 6:45:00 PM)

    not funny at all why is a school massacar funny (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • (2/27/2018 6:43:00 PM)

    play overwatch ps4 rules (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (2/27/2018 6:41:00 PM)

    I'm sorry but I don't find massacres funny (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • (2/27/2018 6:38:00 PM)

    why do we do this it is stupid whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • (2/27/2018 6:38:00 PM)

    this is stupid why is this a poem it is ment to be a humour poem but it is stupid (Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • (2/27/2018 3:24:00 AM)

    There is no such word as nooligans. The word is hooligans. (Report)Reply

    (2/6/2019 1:31:00 PM)

    Actually I think you'll find it is a word and it means a child that thinks they're all big (like you) and really isn't because they don't know anything (also you)

    (6/21/2018 11:04:00 AM)

    The mode of speech where McGough comes from frequently drops the initial 'h' from words...so hooligan becomes ooligan when speaking. When needed, the indirect article has to be an and so you get an 'ooligan which then glide together to become a nooligan. McGough is making a reference to this and he knows perfectly well that the word should really be as you suggest.

    1 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • (2/22/2018 12:55:00 PM)

    This poem should be compulsory reading for NRA supporters who think arming teachers will solve massacres in schools (Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Lea- Beima Dorestin (12/31/2017 12:50:00 PM)

    Such a heavy and dark poem: (
    But nice rhyme scheme I guess
    (Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
Read all 139 comments »




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Read poems about / on: teacher, girl, today, silence, hair, lost, fire



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

Poem Edited: Thursday, February 13, 2014


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