Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday Poem: "This Be the Worst" by Adrian Mitchell

 (after hearing that some sweet innocent 
 thought that Philip Larkin must have written:
 'They tuck you up, your mum and dad')

They tuck you up, your mum and dad, 
They read you Peter Rabbit, too. 
They give you all the treats they had
And add some extra, just for you. 

They were tucked up when they were small, 
(Pink perfume, blue tobacco-smoke), 
By those whose kiss healed any fall, 
Whose laughter doubled any joke. 

Man hands on happiness to man, 
It deepens like a coastal shelf. 
So love your parents all you can
And have some cheerful kids yourself. 

     -- Adrian Mitchell

The wonderful and sadly missed Adrian Mitchell. For more on his life and career see:


and the poem that this poem references, Philip Larkin's "This Be The Verse", can be found here:


For more wonderful poems to enjoy on a Tuesday, or indeed any day of the week, visit the Blog Roll of excellent and invigorating and stimulating Tuesday Poets alongside the main hub poem.

Bon Appetit pour la poésie!


  1. "man hands on happiness to man". So true. Very touching poetry.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Jennifer and Ana Lisa. Jennifer, you don't watch that British TV comedy, "Miranda", do you? That's one of Miranda's Mum's catchphrases, "What fun!" Miranda's Mum is played by a well-known British actress whose name escapes me now.

  3. My father taught me Larkin's original of this. In his life he really did did experience the full effects of the sentiments that Larkin expressed and suffered considerably from it. I always found Larkin's sentiment so true in that context and the experience of my own past life. However my life has been altering though, recently, with the birth of a grandchild and for me this alternative is a delight that offers a so very much more positive view of human relationships. It was a treat to hear it this past week on the radio. Thank you Adrian Mitchell! And I hope I can pass on some happiness to the new child in my life.

  4. I have been searching all over for a publication date for Adrian Mitchell's poem, as I want to use it as an exam text for my O-level students - contrasted with Larkin's original.
    Does anyone know the year of publication and also an original publicist? These copyright details still matter in some circles ;)

  5. Hi Buttersoft: the poem above appears in "All Shook Up: Poems 1997-2000" by Adrian Mitchell(Bloodaxe Books Ltd, 2001). But I don't know if it originally appeared somewhere else. That at least narrows its publication date to four years.