Some parodies

an anthology

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Beerbohm caricatures

Philip Larkin

Mr. Strugnell

'This was Mr. Strugnell's room,' she'll say—
And look down at the lumpy, single bed.
'He stayed here up until he went away
And kept his bicycle out in that shed.

'He had a job at Norwood library—
He was a quiet sort who liked to read —
Dick Francis mostly, and some poetry—
He liked John Betjeman very much indeed

'But not Pam Ayres or even Patience Strong—
He'd change the subject if I mentioned them,
Or say "It's time for me to run along—
Your taste's too highbrow for me, Mrs. M."

'And up he'd go and listen to that jazz.
I don't mind telling you it was a bore—
Few things in this house have been tiresome as
The sound of his foot tapping on the floor.

'He didn't seem the sort for being free
With girls or going out and having fun.
He had a funny turn in 'sixty-three
And ran round shouting "Yippee! It's begun."

'I don't know what he meant but after that
He had a different look, much more relaxed.
Some nights he'd come in late, too tired to chat,
As if he had been somewhat overtaxed.

'And now he's gone. He said he found Tulse Hill
Too stimulating—wanted somewhere dull.
At last he's found a place that fits the bill—
Enjoying perfect boredom up in Hull.'

Wendy Cope




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