Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
10 July 2014

“Aubade“: a poem by Roger McCough

By Roger McGough

Needler Hall, the University of Hull

Woken at four to the sound of jazz
coming from his room on the floor above,
as he opens the door and slips out.

The flop of moth-eaten brocade slippers
along the corridor. The knock. ‘Come in.’
He stands in the doorway plain as a wardrobe.

‘Sorry to . . . Unearthly hour . . .’
He stays just on the edge of vision,
‘Thought you might be able to help.’

There is no escape. The curtain-edges grow light
and the room takes shape. ‘Work has to be done.
What year was the Beatles’ first LP?’

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

‘Nineteen sixty-three,’ I mumble.
‘ABBAB. Excellent.’ And he is gone.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.

Roger McGough is the president of the Poetry Society and presents the BBC Radio 4 programme Poetry Please.