»  Kingsley Amis' "Shitty"

 

Shitty

by Kingsley Amis, 1922-1995

 

•  Background

A life-threatening illness gives you a different perspective on things. Kingsley Amis, though in no such danger himself, captured this imaginatively in these morbidly reactionary lines.

"Bedizened" means "showily over-dressed."

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•  Play the reading

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•  Text of the poem

Look thy last on all things shitty
    While thou'rt at it: soccer stars,
Soccer crowds, bedezined bushheads
    Jerking over their guitars.

German tourists, plastic roses,
    Face of Mao and face of Ché,
Women wearing curtains, blankets,
    Beckett at the ICA.

High-rise blocks and action paintings,
    Sculptures made from wire and lead:
Each of them a sight more lovely
    Than the screens around your bed.