Adrian Mitchell

po_Mitchell-Adrian1Adrian Mitchell (October 24, 1932 – December 20, 2008) was an English poet, novelist and playwright. A former journalist, he became a noted figure on the British Left. For almost half a century he was the foremost poet of the country’s anti-Bomb movement.

In a National Poetry Day poll in 2005 his poem “Human Beings” was voted the one most people would like to see launched into space. Mitchell was for some years poetry editor of the New Statesman, and was the first to publish an interview with the Beatles. He also wrote librettos. The Poetry Archive identified his creative yield as hugely prolific.

The Times said that Mitchell’s had been a “forthright voice often laced with tenderness.” His poems on such topics as nuclear war, Vietnam, prisons and racism had become “part of the folklore of the Left. His work was often read and sung at demonstrations and rallies.”

A PUPPY CALLED PUBERTY
Adrian Mitchell

It was like keeping a puppy in your underpants
A secret puppy you weren’t allowed to show to anyone
Not even your best friend or your worst enemy

You wanted to pat him stroke him cuddle him
All the time but you weren’t supposed to touch him

He only slept for five minutes at a time
Then he’d suddenly perk up his head
In the middle of school medical inspection
And always on bus rides
So you had to climb down from the upper deck
All bent double to smuggle the puppy off the bus
Without the buxom conductress spotting
Your wicked and ticketless stowaway.

Jumping up, wet-nosed, eagerly wagging—
He only stopped being a nuisance
When you were alone together
Pretending to be doing your homework
But really gazing at each other
Through hot and hazy daydreams

Of those beautiful schoolgirls on the bus
With kittens bouncing in their sweaters.