21+ Best Spike Milligan Poems Everyone Should Read

Terence Alan “Spike” Milligan KBE, was an English-Irish comedian, writer, poet, playwright and actor. The son of an Irish father and an English mother, Milligan was born in India where he spent his childhood, relocating to live and work the majority of his life in the United Kingdom.

Famous Spike Milligan Poems

Me

Born screaming small into this world-
Living I am.
Occupational therapy twixt birth and death-
What was I before?
What will I be next?
What am I now?
Cruel answer carried in the jesting mind
of a careless God
I will not bend and grovel
When I die. If He says my sins are myriad
I will ask why He made me so imperfect
And he will say ‘My chisels were blunt’
I will say ‘Then why did you make so
many of me’.

A reflective piece that mixes self-deprecation with whimsical humor, offering insight into Milligan’s view of himself.

Contagion

Elephants are contagious!
Be careful how you tread.
An Elephant that’s been trodden on
Should be confined to bed!

Leopards are contagious too.
Be careful tiny tots.
They don’t give you a temperature
But lots and lots – of spots.

The Herring is a lucky fish
From all disease inured.
Should he be ill when caught at sea;
Immediately – he’s cured!

Two Children

Two children (small), one Four, one Five,
Once saw a bee go in a hive,
They’d never seen a bee before!
So waited there to see some more.
And sure enough along they came
A dozen bees (and all the same!)
Within the hive they buzzed about;
Then, one by one, they all flew out.
Said Four: ‘Those bees are silly things,
But how I wish I had their wings!’

Porridge

Why is there no monument
To Porridge in our land?
It it’s good enough to eat,
It’s good enough to stand!

On a plinth in London
A statue we should see
Of Porridge made in Scotland
Signed, “Oatmeal, O.B.E.”
(By a young dog of three)

On the Ning Nang Nong

On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the Cows go Bong!
and the monkeys all say BOO!
There’s a Nong Nang Ning
Where the trees go Ping!
And the tea pots jibber jabber joo.
On the Nong Ning Nang
All the mice go Clang
And you just can’t catch ’em when they do!
So its Ning Nang Nong
Cows go Bong!
Nong Nang Ning
Trees go ping
Nong Ning Nang
The mice go Clang
What a noisy place to belong
is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!!

This playful poem is set in a fantastical land where cows, monkeys, and trees make music together. It’s a great example of Milligan’s ability to create a vivid, nonsensical world that delights both children and adults.

A Silly Poem

Said Hamlet to Ophelia,
I’ll draw a sketch of thee,
What kind of pencil shall I use?
2B or not 2B?

True to its title, this poem revels in absurdity and nonsensical lines, showcasing Milligan’s talent for light-hearted and humorous verse.

The ABC

‘Twas midnight in the schoolroom
And every desk was shut
When suddenly from the alphabet
Was heard a loud “Tut-Tut!”

Said A to B, “I don’t like C;
His manners are a lack.
For all I ever see of C
Is a semi-circular back!”

“I disagree,” said D to B,
“I’ve never found C so.
From where I stand he seems to be
An uncompleted O.”

C was vexed, “I’m much perplexed,
You criticise my shape.
I’m made like that, to help spell Cat
And Cow and Cool and Cape.”

“He’s right” said E; said F, “Whoopee!”
Said G, “‘Ip, ‘Ip, ‘ooray!”
“You’re dropping me,” roared H to G.
“Don’t do it please I pray.”

“Out of my way,” LL said to K.
“I’ll make poor I look ILL.”
To stop this stunt J stood in front,
And presto! ILL was JILL.

“U know,” said V, “that W
Is twice the age of me.
For as a Roman V is five
I’m half as young as he.”

X and Y yawned sleepily,
“Look at the time!” they said.
“Let’s all get off to beddy byes.”
They did, then “Z-z-z.”

A humorous take on the alphabet, where each letter is given a quirky twist, demonstrating Milligan’s love for playing with language.

Mirror, Mirror

A young spring-tender girl
combed her joyous hair
‘You are very ugly’ said the mirror.
But,
on her lips hung
a smile of dove-secret loveliness,
for only that morning had not
the blind boy said,
‘You are beautiful’?

This piece offers a humorous reflection on seeing oneself in the mirror, blending Milligan’s comedic timing with poetic form.

Teeth

English Teeth, English Teeth!
Shining in the sun
A part of British heritage
Aye, each and every one.
English Teeth, Happy Teeth!
Always having fun
Clamping down on bits of fish
And sausages half done.
English Teeth! HEROES’ Teeth!
Hear them click! and clack!
Let’s sing a song of praise to them –
Three Cheers for the Brown Grey and Black.

Milligan explores the theme of dental woes with his typical humor, turning an ordinary subject into an entertaining poem.

Granny

Through every nook and every cranny
The wind blew in on poor old Granny
Around her knees, into each ear
(And up her nose as well, I fear)

All through the night the wind grew worse
It nearly made the vicar curse
The top had fallen off the steeple
Just missing him (and other people)

It blew on man, it blew on beast
It blew on nun, it blew on priest
It blew the wig off Auntie Fanny-
But most of all, it blew on Granny!

In this poem, Milligan mixes humor with a touch of the macabre, a combination often found in his work.

So Fair Is She

So fair is she!
So fair her face
So fair her pulsing figure

Not so fair
The maniacal stare
Of a husband who’s much bigger.

Omen Of Emptiness

The clock has turned enough
to reach a planet
Life is endless night
I hear wings beating in
the dark of my room
A giant Raven is waiting –

for me to fall asleep.

Summer Dawn

My sleeping children are still flying dreams
in their goose-down heads.
The lush of the river singing morning songs
Fish watch their ceilings turn sun-white.
The grey-green pike lances upstream
Kale, like mermaid’s hair
points the water’s drift.
All is morning hush
and bird beautiful.

I only,
I didn’t have flu.

There Are Holes In The Sky

There are holes in the sky
Where the rain gets in
But they’re ever so small
That’s why the rain is thin.

Soldier Freddy

Soldier Freddy
was never ready,
But! Soldier Neddy,
unlike Freddy
Was always ready
and steady,

That’s why,
When Soldier Neddy
Is-outside-Buckingham-Palace-on-guard-in -the-pouring-wind-and-rain-being-steady-and-ready ,
Freddy
is home in beddy.

Standing Room Only

This population explosion
Said Peter to St. Paul
Is really getting far too much
Just look at the crowd in the hall.
Even here, in Heaven
There isn’t any room
I think the world could do with less
Much less fruit in the womb.
Thus Heaven is overcrowded
The numbers are starting to tell
So when the next lot knock at the gates
Tell ’em to ‘Go to Hell’.

Orstralia

Orstralia – Orstralia
We think of you each day
Orstralia – Orstralia
At work or at play.
We think of yew in the morning
And in the evening too
We even wake up at mid-night
So that we can think of you.
Orstralia – Orstralia
We love you from the heart
The kidney, the Liver and the giblets,
And every other part.

Scorflufus

There are many diseases,
That strike people’s kneeses,
Scorflufus! is one by name
It comes from the East
Packed in bladders of yeast
So the Chinese must take half the blame.

There’s a case in the files
Of Sir Barrington-Pyles
While hunting a fox one day
Shot up in the air
And remained hanging there!
While the hairs on his socks turned grey!

Aye!Scorflufus had struck!
At man, beast, and duck.
And the knees of the world went Bong!
Some knees went Ping!
Other knees turned to string
From Balham to old Hong Kong.

Should you hold your life dear,
Then the remedy’s clear,
If you’re offered some yeast – don’t eat it!
Turn the offer down flat-
Don your travelling hat-
Put an egg in your boot – and beat it!

A Combustible Woman From Thang

A combustible woman from Thang
Exploded one day with a BANG!
The maid then rushed in
And said with a grin,
‘Pardon me, madam – you rang?’

Emptiness

I’ve learned mine can’t be filled,
only alchemized. Many times
it’s become a paragraph or a page.
But usually I’ve hidden it,
not knowing until too late
how enormous it grows in its dark.
Or how obvious it gets
when I’ve donned, say, my good
cordovans and my fine tweed vest
and walked into a room with a smile.
I might as well have been a man
with a fez and a faux silver cane.
Better, I know now, to dress it plain,
to say out loud
to some right person
in some right place
that there’s something not there
in me, something I can’t name.
That some right person
has just lit a fire under the kettle.
She hasn’t said a word.
Beneath her blue shawl
she, too, conceals a world.
But she’s been amazed
how much I seem to need my emptiness,
amazed I won’t let it go.

About the Author

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