The Patriot Game

Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context. 

14 November 2013


Why Patriots are a Bit Nuts in the Head


Patriots are a bit nuts in the head

because they wear

red, white and blue-

tinted spectacles

(red for blood

white for glory

and blue…

for a boy)

and are in effervescent danger

of losing their lives

lives are good for you

when you are alive

you can eat and drink a lot

and go out with girls

(sometimes if you are lucky

you can even go to bed with them)

but you can’t do this

if you have your belly shot away

and your seeds

spread over some corner of a foreign field

to facilitate

in later years

the growing of oats by some peasant yobbo


when you are posthumous it is cold and dark

and that is why patriots are a bit nuts in the head


This poem by English poet Roger McGough (b. 1937 on the outskirts of Liverpool) takes a stance on patriotism that is the direct opposite of that espoused by Henry Newbolt in the poem Vitaï Lampada, which we published in this blog yesterday 13 November 2013. The poem was published by Penguin Books in 1967 in The Mersey Sound, a paperback anthology of poems by the three “Liverpool poets” – Adrian Henri, Brian Patten and Roger McGough. The Mersey is a river which flows by Liverpool into the Irish Sea. According to Wikipedia, “The Mersey Sound” – of which Antigone1984 has a copy signed by all three poets – is one of the best-selling poetry anthologies of all time, shifting over half a million copies.


 You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts.  For instance:

1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)

2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)

3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)

4. Capitalism in practice  (4 July 2012) 

5.Ladder  (21 June 2012)

 6. A tale of two cities (1)  (6 June 2012)

 7. A tale of two cities (2)  (7 June 2012)

 8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)

Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.








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