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The Beatles Mentioned In Poetry
9 April 2015
The Star-Club
Forum Posts: 73
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10 December 2014
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Forgive me if this has been covered elsewhere.

I only came across this the other day and thought I’d share it:


Annus Mirabilis

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me) –
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles’ first LP.

Up to then there’d only been
A sort of bargaining,
A wrangle for the ring,
A shame that started at sixteen
And spread to everything.

Then all at once the quarrel sank:
Everyone felt the same,
And every life became
A brilliant breaking of the bank,
A quite unlosable game.

So life was never better than
In nineteen sixty-three
(Though just too late for me) –
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles’ first LP

The following people thank Hildy for this post:

Ahhh Girl, ewe2, Beatlebug
9 April 2015
Inside Von Bontee's mind
Apple rooftop
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1 December 2009
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“Portland Coliseum”

by Allen Ginsberg

A brown piano in diamond
white spotlight
Leviathan auditorium
iron run wired
hanging organs, vox
black battery
A single whistling sound of ten thousand children’s
larynxes asinging
pierce the ears
and following up the belly
bliss the moment arrived

Apparition, four brown English
jacket christhair boys
Goofed Ringo battling bright
white drums
Silent George hair patient
Soul horse
Short black-skulled Paul
with the guitar
Lennon the Captain, his mouth
a triangular smile,
all jump together to End
some tearful memory song
ancient-two years,
The million children
the thousand words
bounce in their seats, bash
each other’s sides, press
legs together nervous
Scream again & claphand
become one Animal
in the New World Auditorium
—hands waving myriad
snakes of thought
screetch beyond hearing

while a line of police with
folded arms stands
Sentry to contain the red
sweatered ecstasy
that rises upward to the
wired roof.

-August 27, 1965

The following people thank vonbontee for this post:

Beatlebug, Necko

GEORGE: In fact, The Detroit Sound. JOHN: In fact, yes. GEORGE: In fact, yeah. Tamla-Motown artists are our favorites. The Miracles. JOHN: We like Marvin Gaye. GEORGE: The Impressions PAUL & GEORGE: Mary Wells. GEORGE: The Exciters. RINGO: Chuck Jackson. JOHN: To name but eighty. 


9 April 2015
Inside the beat
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The Beatles In Adelaide, by Geoffrey Dutton

Give way, square city named for a dull, dead queen,
Bulge like the trousered bottoms of squealing sixteen.
Sag like their sweaters, elegant old verandah
Of the hotel where Schnabel or Menuhin once were seen
And whispered on by black-tied and jewelled guests at dinner.
‘We want Paul!’ ‘We love George!’, from the marble
Steps and columns of Parliament House, where the gargle
Of politicians spat out lengthier platitudes.
O level-headed city of ornate feuds
No knife will settle, unscarred by bomb or machine-gun,
Make room for your first Revolution .
In your straight streets the barricades are out tonight;
The horses of the police could be the colour of fright.
O city of parks below the Founder’s bronze finger
Ordering the plains between the hills and sea,
Rock to the clap of hot hands and the tears of hysteria.
But already, sidling behind the hotel into Hindley Street
The idols (with a ring-in drummer) are vanishing into cars.

The night pulsates with amplified guitars
As if someone had just plugged in the electric stars
And given the hymning firmament a new bold beat.
Inside the Centennial Hall, where in summer cold feet
Shuffled under the silent islands of exam desks
The girders are heaving like lovers, and the whole floor
Bounds under boots and the voices screaming ‘More!’
The neat grey figures with their medieval hair
Strum and shout to themselves in the focussed glare;
Perhaps they cannot even hear themselves
For they twitch like wound-up dolls on remote shelves
While the audience is performing, shrilling on ear-drums,
Clapping, while into some favoured ones there comes
The stiffening rapture, saints seeing glory unafraid.
And it is a mystery, by what presence they are swayed
Like great flocks of birds that suddenly wheel
As one, to let fly together one screaming squeal
That makes the thousands one. One in four,
Who exit (in flesh only) to the frenzied ‘More!’

A few ancients in their forties there, remembering that war
Is first declared in unconditional surrender,
See shiveringly through the hot idol-incense the tender
Youth of Germany, once rigid with such ecstasy.
But these are nice kids in another city.
God Save The Queen’ cuts all their screaming short.
They stand to attention. It was not as rough as sport.
No one was hurt. No Adelaide policeman’s corns
Would tolerate a jackboot. The cry is ‘Love’. The horns
Of cars could never turn to bugles. They stand,
Still humming ‘I only want to hold your hand.’
But say, to a steady beat of drum and guitar,
Paul, Ringo, John and George all shouted ‘War’,
Or ‘Kill’, or ‘Bomb’, or ‘Rape’, or ‘March’, or ‘Hate’,
What one of us, or them, would know our fate?

Just a note on this poem, I’ve known of it because it was in my high school poetry text (a LONG time ago), and it comes from a collection Poems Soft and Loud published in 1967. The last stanza has always been problematic for me. He tries to disguise an obvious-looking simile equating Fascist rallies and Beatlemania, and then tries to suggest that their power could be used for evil. He clearly fears this power and does not understand it, and portrays it as a kind of revolutionary fervour, as if a popular group doing so would be accepted in the same way as a popular dictator would! It’s weirder when you think about it, for one, the source of authority doesn’t match. And intriguingly when you think of the social revolutions occurring at the time, it seems like he’s making a veiled comment about all the things that are changing, yet it might have had more force later on during the Vietnam moratorium marches in Australia in the early 1970’s, except the slogans yet again don’t match. So you’re left with the strong impression of someone forced to confront a social reality via a remarkable event (half of Adelaide went to just wave hi at them in the street!), and years later publish a little screed about those weird Beatles, what if they were revolutionaries huh huh?! Such critiques aren’t unique but it’s certainly different to see it in a poem that the author was happy to publish! The big hint is the line A few ancients in their forties there…. In 1967, Dutton was 45. a-hard-days-night-ringo-15

The following people thank ewe2 for this post:


I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.


9 April 2015
The Netherlands
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21 November 2012
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Cool idea for a thread!

11 December 2020
Ahhh Girl
sailing on a winedark open sea



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Hildy said


Annus Mirabilis

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three (which was rather late for me)-

Between the end of the Chatterley ban 

And the Beatles’ first LP.


I just started listening to the BBC radio program The History of the World in One Hundred Objects’s episode on Hockney’s In the Dull Village, and it started with the beginning of this Larkin poem.
11 December 2020
Ron Nasty
Apple rooftop

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17 December 2012
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by Adrian Henri

if you weren’t you, who would you like to be?

Paul McCartney Gustav Mahler
Alfred Jarry John Coltrane
Charlie Mingus Claude Debussy
Wordsworth Monet Bach and Blake

Charlie Parker Pierre Bonnard
Leonardo Bessie Smith
Fidel Castro Jackson Pollock
Gaudi Milton Munch and Berg

Belà Bartók Henri Rousseau
Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns
Lukas Cranach Shostakovich
Kropotkin Ringo George and John

William Burroughs Francis Bacon
Dylan Thomas Luther King
H. P. Lovecraft T. S. Eliot
D. H. Lawrence Roland Kirk

Salvatore Giuliano
Andy Warhol Paul Uzanne
Kafka Camus Ensor Rothko
Jacques Prévert and Manfred Mann

Marx Dostoevsky
Bakunin Ray Bradbury
Miles Davis Trotsky
Stravinsky and Poe

Danilo Dolci Napoleon Solo
St John of the Cross and
The Marquis de Sade

Charles Rennie Mackintosh
Rimbaud Claes Oldenburg
Adrian Mitchell and Marcel Duchamp

James Joyce and Hemingway
Hitchcock and Bunuel
Donald McKinlay Thelonius Monk

Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Matthias Grunewald
Philip Jones Grifths and Roger McGough

Guillaume Apollinaire
Cannonball Adderley
René Magritte
Hieronymus Bosch

Stéphane Mallarmé and Alfred de Vigny
Ernst Mayakovsky and Nicolas de Stael
Hindemith Mick Jagger Durer and Schwitters
Garcia Lorca
last of all

The Beatles cropped up a lot in the two anthologies of the poems of Adrian Henri, Roger McGough, and Brian Patten; The Mersey Sound (1967) – one of the biggest  selling poetry anthologies ever, and New Volume (1983) – which saw the same three poets more recent work collected. Lots of Beatles references in the first, and memories of The Beatles’ Liverpool, while the shadow of John’s murder hangs over hangs over the second.

One of the lines I remember well from the second volume, from Henri’s Autobiography, I think, and it’s from a section where he’s walking the streets of Liverpool again, particularly Liverpool 8 (Toxteth), and he recalls, “Gambier Terrace loud Beatle guitars from the first floor”. It gave me the image of him remembering walking past decades before.

I sort of nicked the line for something I wrote about the time, can’t find the poem/song (I may have considered it either at that age), but I remember the verse/stanza, because I was quite proud of my twist on his line:

Ghost Beatle guitars from 3 Gambier Terrace
Voices now silent still echo from the first floor
John and Stuart together once again until
The days that’re remembered come to an end

I didn’t say it was good, but I did like my version of that line!

The following people thank Ron Nasty for this post:


"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty

To @ Ron Nasty it's @ mja6758
The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963 and Part Two: 1964-August 1966

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