Roger McGough CBE FRSL is an English poet, performance poet, broadcaster, children’s author and playwright. He was one of the leading members of the Liverpool poets, a group of young writers inspired by the Beat poetry movement, as well as the music and culture of 1960s Liverpool. McGough is a member of the Royal Society of Literature and President of the Poetry Society.

McGough was behind much of the humorous dialogue in The Beatles’ film, Yellow Submarine.  (he did not receive an on-screen credit.) At about the same time a selection of his poems was published in a best-selling anthology of verse entitled The Mersey Sound, published in 1967, (revised in 1983 and again in 2007.)

McGough developed an unusual composition in 1981, co-writing an “electronic poem” called Now Press Return with the programmer Richard Warner. Now Press Return incorporated several themes, including user-defined elements to the poem, lines which changed their order (and meaning) every few seconds, and text which wrote itself in a spiral around the screen.

Roger McGough

By Roger McGough

'The trouble with snowmen,'
Said my father one year
'They are no sooner made
than they just disappear.

I'll build you a snowman
And I'll build it to last
Add sand and cement
And then have it cast.

And so every winter,'
He went on to explain
'You shall have a snowman
Be it sunshine or rain.'

And that snowman still stands
Though my father is gone
Out there in the garden
Like an unmarked gravestone.

Staring up at the house
Gross and misshapen
As if waiting for something
Bad to happen.

For as the years pass
And I grow older
When summers seem short
And winters colder.

The snowmen I envy
As I watch children play
Are the ones that are made
And then fade away.


  1. This is another poet I never heard of and am glad to now know of. The poem presented here has a slightly off-kilter quality (in my opinion) that I find appealing.

  2. He reads like a British Silverstein. Slightly off-kilter is a good description, Bill! I try to introduce you all to a variety of lesser-known or obscure poets and their work. I find McGough quite appealing.

  3. McGough is new to me also. I feel like this speaks to the difference between a child’s simple wish and an adult’s more complex interpretation of the wish.

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