Smile, go on, smile!
Anyone would think, to look at you,
that your cat was on the barbecue
or your best friend had died.
Go on, curve your mouth.
Take a look at that beggar,
or that one-legged bus conductor.
Where’s your cross?
Smile, slap your thigh.
Hiccup, make a horse noise,
lollop through the house,
fizz up your coffee.
Take down your guitar
from its air-shelf and play
imaginary reggae
out through the open door.
And smile, remember, smile,
give those teeth some sun,
grin at everyone,
do it now, go on, SMILE!

from Up on the Roof: New and Selected Poems (Faber & Faber, 2001), © Matthew Sweeney, 2001, used by permission of the author and publisher.

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1The Flying Spring Onion

2Cows on the Beach

3Cecil the Spider

4Fishbones Dreaming

5Lucy's Gosling

6James' Mum

7Johnjoe's Snowman

8Blue Hair

9The Red House


11My Dear Mungo

12Night Boy

13All the Dogs

14Me and Benjy

15After Dinner

16Up on the Roof

17Dog in Space

18The Money Tree

19Worrying Days

20Flat Bird

21Ghost Story


23A Boy


25Off School

26The New Boy

27Only the Wall

28In the Desert

28The Silent Knight

30The Not-So-Slow Loris

31The Nobody on the Hill

32A New Me


34The Field

35The Bad Girl Haiku

36While I Practise my Piano

37My Party



40The Moon

41The Burglar

42The Butcher


44The Sleeping Sailor


46I Went to the Future

47Maggot Song