By Roger McGough
You arrived washed, ironed and lightly starched.
Stars and stripes on the label, 'Broadway and Sunset Strip'
Assumed he'd brought you back from his first American trip.
But you weren't my style. Too flash for a teacher
I left you in the laundry bag and squirrelled you away.
Forty years on I re-read the label: Esquire regd. Glasgow.
May 1960, the Silver Beatles on tour with Johnny Gentle.
Two weeks in Scotland, bread on the night, and the lure
of the Sanforized shrunk imports in the Esquire shop.
Though never quite living up to the promise of your name,
at least you appeared on stage and realized your dreams.
Felt a sense of history coursing through your seams.
The alternative? Shoplifted by a teddy boy from Alloa
for the dance at the Town Hall. Lipstick on your collar,
sweat on your oxters and blood on your cuffs.
To end up here, the carapace of a silver beetle,
pinned down under glass, would have been unthinkable.
A shroud, ghostly, Sanforized and unshrinkable.
• From As Far As I Know, published by Viking (£12.99). To order a copy for £10.39 with free UK p&p call Guardian book service on 0330 333 6846 or go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop