Educating Rita/Three poems

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Poem 1: The SICK ROSE

William Blake (1757-1824) ; Songs of Experience

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
in the howling storm:
Has found out thy bed
of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

Poem 2: Easter 1916

William Butler Yeats (I865-1939)

I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From Counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
. . (stanza 2 + 3)

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is heaven's part, our part
to murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
Was it but nightfall? ' ?
No, no, not night but death:
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
for all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse - MacDonagh and MacBride
And Conolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.


Roger McGough (1937- )

The politicians
(who are buying huge cars with hobnailed wheels
the size of merry-go-rounds)
have a new plan.
They are going to
put cobbles
in our eyesockets
and pebbles
in our navels
and fill us up
with asphalt
and lay us
side by side
so that we can take a more active part
in the road
to destruction.


2 hobnailed: fitted with a type of nail that has a large, decorative head

3 merry go-round: Karussell

6 cobble: rounded stone for paving streets

8 pebble: small roundish stone

9 navel: Nabel

Roger McGough (1937- ) belongs to a group of poets known as the "Liverpool Poets". In the 1960's, Liverpool, as the town where the Beatles began their musical career, became the centre of pop culture in England. However, this pop culture was not restricted only to music, and a group of Liverpudlian poets also achieved success through their down-to-earth topics and straightforward, witty style. The other poets, besides McGough, are Adrian Henri (cf. p. 49) and Brian Patten. The following poem was published in The Mersey Sound (1967).