Read by Phoebe Hitt, recent graduate in BA (Hons) Drama and English, Oxford Brookes University
‘Help, help,’ said a man. ‘I’m drowning.’‘Hang on,’ said a man from the shore.‘Help, help,’ said the man. ‘I’m not clowning.’‘Yes, I know, I heard you before.Be patient dear man who is drowning,You see, I’ve got a disease.I’m waiting for a Doctor J. Browning.So do be patient please.’‘How long,’ said the man who was drowning. ‘Will it take for the Doc to arrive?’‘Not very long,’ said the man with the disease. ‘Till then try staying alive.’‘Very well,’ said the man who was drowning. ‘I’ll try and stay afloat.By reciting the poems of BrowningAnd other things he wrote.’‘Help, help,’ said the man with the disease, ‘I suddenly feel quite ill.’‘Keep calm,’ said the man who was drowning, ‘Breathe deeply and lie quite still.’‘Oh dear,’ said the man with the awful disease. ‘I think I'm going to die.’‘Farewell,’ said the man who was drowningSaid the man with the disease, ‘goodbye.’So the man who was drowning, drowndedAnd the man with the disease passed away.But apart from that,And a fire in my flat,It’s been a very nice day.
The poem is copyright Spike Milligan Productions Ltd and reproduced by permission. The Poetry Centre is grateful to Norma Farnes.