We often think of Spike Milligan as a joker – a humourist. This poem is a good example of his nonsense verse for children:
‘What is a Bongaloo, Daddy?’
‘A Bongaloo, Son,’ said I,
‘Is a tall bag of cheese
Plus a Chinaman’s knees
And the leg of a nanny goat’s eye.’
‘How strange is a Bongaloo, Daddy?’
‘As strange as strange,’ I replied.
‘When the sun’s in the West
It appears in a vest
Sailing out with the noonday tide.’
‘What shape is a Bongaloo, Daddy?’
‘The shape, my Son, I’ll explain:
It’s tall round the nose
Which continually grows
In the general direction of Spain.’
‘Are you sure there’s a Bongaloo, Daddy?’
‘Am I sure, my Son?’ said I.
‘Why, I’ve seen it, not quite
On a dark sunny night
Do you think that I’d tell you a lie?
Here’s another, read by me:
But then I am reminded how many emotionally deep and intense poems he also wrote, which are far less often read. This one is just one example:
When I Suspected
There will be a time when it will end.
Be it parting
Be it death
So each passing minute with you
Pendulummed with sadness.
So many times
I looked long into your face.
I could hear the clock ticking.
It’s good to remember that he was more than his most popular poems.
Lis Goodwin, your voice coach