Tonight at noon Supermarkets will advertise 3p extra on everything Tonight at noon Children from happy families will be sent to live in a home Elephants will tell each other human jokes America will declare peace on Russia World War I generals will sell poppies on the street on November 11th The first daffodils of autumn will appear When the leaves fall upwards to the trees
Tonight at noon Pigeons will hunt cats through city backyards Hitler will tell us to fight on the beaches and on the landing fields A tunnel full of water will be built under Liverpool Pigs will be sighted flying in formation over Woolton And Nelson will not only get his eye back but his arm as well White Americans will demonstrate for equal rights In front of the Black house And the monster has just created Dr. Frankenstein
Girls in bikinis are moonbathing Folksongs are being sung by real folk Art galleries are closed to people over 21 Poets get their poems in the Top 20 There’s jobs for everybody and nobody wants them In back alleys everywhere teenage lovers are kissing in broad daylight In forgotten graveyards everywhere the dead will quietly bury the living and You will tell me you love me Tonight at noon
Adrian Henri was born in Birkenhead, near the port of Liverpool, England, in 1932. He described his early philosophy as “If you think you can do it and you want to do it—then do it.” Along with Brian Patten and Roger McGough, Adrian Henri was the third member of the group who came to prominence in 1967 on the publication of ‘Mersey Sound’, the Penguin anthology of the Merseybeat or Liverpool Poets.
As an artist of often surreal paintings, this was also at times apparent in his poetry, as in ‘Tonight at Noon’ which I feature above. There is humour here along with the pathos of the ending where it is realised, but only at the very end of the poem, that the poet is considering all the impossible happenings which would need to take place before his love was likely to be returned. Henri died in 2000 and is buried in Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France.