Ah! Rugose, flaccid nose-hole of the ruffled temple zone,
Your googly funnel-bunny gnaws a constipating bone,
The flow of curdled fennel burbles freely ‘twixt my toes,
Like humming lemon lemmings plinking furgled fertile rows,
Give over to me all your wingèd tokens priss-pristine,
Lest I dislocate your gruntle sack you disgusting pervert,
The Worst of Perth has recently alerted me to the fact that Bayswater Councillor Sally Palmer has of late been peddling some truly atrocious poetry on the subject of a concrete plant being constructed on Collier road.
I know nothing about Ms Palmer’s politics, and while I have not been aware of plans for a concrete plant on Collier road I can see why such a proposal seems like a bad idea. One thing I do know however is what makes for a half decent poem, and I can say with certainty that “Black Cockatoo Calling” is probably the worst bit of poetry foisted on the people of Bayswater since Gina Rinehart defiled Morley with her poorly composed plea for less government regulation on the activities of disadvantaged mining billionaires.
It is a basic rule of English poetry that you can’t rhyme a word with itself – it’s cheating. Yet Ms Palmer rhymes “lands” with “lands”, “accord” with “accord” and “earth” with “earth”. Another rule is that of meter and scansion – lines should follow a uniform pattern of syllable count and stress. While not as bad as Ms Rinehart in this respect Ms Palmer still breaks meter all over the place. A basic understanding of grammar is also expected – I don’t think the construction “to do contamination” would pass muster in any high school English class, let alone “to do bad contamination”.
The horror engendered by reading Ms Palmer’s poetic burp got me wondering – how is it that apparently intelligent people can spew up the kind of doggerel that would embarrass William McGonagall but then be proud enough to put it on display for all to see? After some thought I think I’ve figured it out…
We all wrote poems in primary school. And almost all of them were awful. Awful, terrible atrocious poetry. But because we were young and just learning how to write and compose, our teachers encouraged us. A poem like “Black Cockatoo Calling” would get any 10 year old a gold star and maybe a special certificate from the school principal, despite its many obvious faults. And there’s nothing wrong with that whatsoever.
The problem arises when the 10 year old internalises the message “I’m a good poet!” and goes on through high school, and maybe university, without ever writing another poem. They never have cause to write more poetry, and never get any feedback that would let them know that their poetic skills have failed to grow beyond the levels of that 10 year old, and are – in a grown adult – simply an embarrassment. Throw in a desire to express strongly held beliefs about mining regulations or concrete plants and the stage is set for a horrible, poorly composed screed to be vomited out into the world, generating untold suffering and trauma.
If I get the time I may rewrite Ms Palmer’s poem into something more acceptable. But then again I may not. I am rather busy at the moment.
There once were some Cultural Attaches,
Who suffered most terrible heartaches,
When the wind rushing through,
Caused them to cough,
And detached – one by one – their mustaches,
If limericks are what you pencil
A sense of scansion is essential
I have to confess
I cheat on the stress
But my meter at least is prudential
Once again I really must apologise for yesterday’s post. It’s just that bad poetry really gets to me. Particularly bad poetry inflicted on the public by the privileged.
It’s my problem, I’ll deal with it.
I was thinking maybe I’ll scrawl the following onto a slate tile and post it to the manager of the markets with a cover letter saying “I understand you’re accepting donations of pieces of rock decorated with poorly rhymed political manifestos and would like to contribute to the collection”…
One day I want to be the king,
So I can own everything,
Except for swans it seems,
Which I’m told belong to Elizabeth the Queen,
And so one day you must give everything,
To the person who is your king,
By which I mean me,
In the meantime, here’s this.
There’s a new market opened up in Morley, in the old Coventry’s building.
Outside the new market in the old Coventry’s building is a giant lump of iron ore.
On the giant lump of iron ore outside the new market in the old Coventry’s building is a plaque.
On the plaque on the giant lump of iron ore outside the new market in the old Coventry’s building is a group of words that the very charitable might concede to describe as something resembling a poem.
A poem apparently written by mining magnate Gina Rhinehart….
The globe is sadly groaning with debt, poverty and strife
And billions now are pleading to enjoy a better life
Their hope lies with resources buried deep within the earth
And the enterprise and capital which give each project worth
Is our future threatened with massive debts run up by political hacks
Who dig themselves out by unleashing rampant tax
The end result is sending Australian investment, growth and jobs offshore
This type of direction is harmful to our core
Some envious unthinking people have been conned
To think prosperity is created by waving a magic wand
Through such unfortunate ignorance, too much abuse is hurled
Against miners, workers and related industries who strive to build the world
Develop North Australia, embrace multiculturalism and welcome short term foreign workers to our shores
To benefit from the export of our minerals and ores
The world’s poor need our resources: do not leave them to their fate
Our nation needs special economic zones and wiser government, before it is too late.
Now you’re going to have to excuse me here, because bad poetry is something that really gets up my nose, to the point of making me almost irrational. So I beg your forgiveness in advance for the tone of what I’m about to type…
WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? WHAT IS THIS FUCKING CRAP PIECE OF SHIT DOING IN A PUBLIC SPACE!?!?!?!?!?! WHAT IN GOD’S NAME MAKES GINA FUCKING RHINEHART THINK SHE’S CAPABLE OF WRITING GODDAMED FUCKING POETRY WITHOUT THE SLIGHTEST CONCEPTION OF METER AND/OR SCANSION AND THAT THE PUSTULANT CRAP PRODUCED IS WORTHY OF BEING PUT ON PUBLIC FUCKING DISPLAY!?!?!?! IF A FUCKING TWELVE YEAR OLD HANDED THIS IN TO ME AS POETRY I’D TELL THEM TO FUCKING REWRITE IT!!!!!! YOU CANT JUST FUCKING ARRANGE A BUNCH OF FUCKING RUN ON SENTENCES OF WILDLY VARIABLE FUCKING LENGTH AND STRESS INTO COUPLETS AND CALL IT POETRY FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!!!
Ahem. Sorry about that. Meter is something trivially easy to get your head around, yet so many people seem to be completely incapable of comprehending it, and it really gets me steamed.
A somewhat more reasoned critical analysis of Rhineharts lyrical atrocity may be read here.