Happy Bad Poetry Day! (18 August 2020)

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Let's all celebrate

Bad Poetry Day!

The world is dealing with a lot of serious issues right now. Pandemics, elections, and bears (oh my)! In times like these, it's important to remember to have a little fun and celebrate the good in the world, instead of just focusing on the bad.

One fun way to spice up your August is to participate in National Bad Poetry Day on August 18th. This is a day dedicated to writing, reading, and simply enjoying some horrible wordplay and wacky rhymes.

William Topaz McGonagall, opens a new window is considered one of the worst poets of all time. He only published one volume in his lifetime and famously traveled around offering dramatic performances of his work. Some of his other accolades include traveling over 50 miles to meet with Queen Victoria (and getting denied access) as well as getting buried in a pauper's grave. Harsh life! Here is his most famous poem, The Tay Bridge Disaster:

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.
’Twas about seven o’clock at night,
And the wind it blew with all its might,
And the rain came pouring down,
And the dark clouds seem’d to frown,
And the Demon of the air seem’d to say—
“I’ll blow down the Bridge of Tay.”
When the train left Edinburgh
The passengers’ hearts were light and felt no sorrow,
But Boreas blew a terrific gale,
Which made their hearts for to quail,
And many of the passengers with fear did say—
“I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay.”
But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,
Boreas he did loud and angry bray,
And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.
So the train sped on with all its might,
And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight,
And the passengers’ hearts felt light,
Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,
With their friends at home they lov’d most dear,
And wish them all a happy New Year.
So the train mov’d slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.
As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o’er the town,
Good Heavens! the Tay Bridge is blown down,
And a passenger train from Edinburgh,
Which fill’d all the people’ hearts with sorrow,
And made them for to turn pale,
Because none of the passengers were sav’d to tell the tale
How the disaster happen’d on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.
It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed. (Source, opens a new window)

Pretty awful, right? Now that you've been properly inspired, take a few minutes to write some seriously bad poetry and have a laugh. Share this challenge with friends and family to see who can come up with the worst poem and enjoy some lighthearted fun.

For more inspiration, check out this list of poetry books offered here at the library (this is just a small sample!):

Verse and Rhyme Time

List created by STPLReferenceCauseway

A poem in any other format would not smell as sweet

View Full List