For reasons I will not bore you with, I have discovered what is on the leaving certificate English syllabus (yes, yes, it’s all true, we’re familiarising the children with some of the easier poets to make them a shoo in for high grades in 12 years time). Roger McGough who was unknown to me is on the list, I looked him up. You may like his work. A sample is reproduced below. Whether it is suitable for cranky adolescents is a moot point.
O Lord, let me be a burden on my children
For long they’ve been a burden upon me.
May they fetch and carry, clean and scrub
And do so cheerfully.
Let them take it in turns at putting me up
Nice sunny rooms at the top of the stairs
With a walk-in bath and lift installed
At great expense…..Theirs.
Insurance against the body-blows of time
Isn’t that what having children’s all about?
To bring them up knowing that they owe you
And can’t contract out?
What is money for but to spend on their schooling?
Designer clothes, mindless hobbies, usual stuff.
Then as soon as they’re earning, off they go
Well, enough’s enough.
It’s been a blessing watching them develop
The parental pride we felt as each one grew.
But Lord, let me be a burden on my children
And on my children’s children too.