! To, For, About, Because Of, Spike Milligan - Poem by Michael Shepherd
Spike, we talked of you today.
You’ll have to live with that now, I guess -
it seems that everyone has
a place in their hearts for you.
So, like a heap of ‘floral tributes’,
they’re all individual, but
it makes a very great pile
For myself, it’s that look on your face
that stays – as if you found life just so great a thing
that it stupefied you, wondering
how to confront it – whether
to laugh at it or cry for it
(both of which you did so well,
that perhaps it didn’t help you much
to decide between, so, lucky us, we got both by turns..)
and on your face, that quizzical appeal
to the rest of us, to help you to decide
how to confront life…or sometimes, should we even try? ..
When you see, in theatre foyers,
those two masks of tragedy and comedy,
it could say underneath –
‘To Spike Milligan, who knew both’
and perhaps people would notice them more and think.
And though you laughed and cried
at our mortality like
a philosopher who was also
a stand-up performer with tears of absurdity in his eyes,
it seems we’ve decided that
despite how you may be feeling now,
we’ve decided in our mortality
that you’re immortal.
you’ll just have to live with that.
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