Thursday, August 28, 2008

Librarians Should Never Become Poets

Theophile Marzials wrote what is considered to be the worst poem ever written in the English language: "A Tragedy." He also happened to be a librarian, and according to the book Very Bad Poetry, he "once interrupted a hushed library room by loudly declaiming: 'Am I not the darling of the British Museum Reading Room?'" Anyhow, as a service to anyone who works at a library, here's the poem. Go forth and write, for the bottom has already been reached, and there's nowhere to go but up.

A Tragedy

Death!
Plop.
The barges down in the river flop.
Flop, plop.
Above, beneath.
From the slimy branches the grey drips drop,
As they scraggle black on the thin grey sky,
Where the black cloud rack-hackles drizzle and fly
To the oozy waters, that lounge and flop
On the black scrag piles, where the loose cords plop,
As the raw wind whines in the thin tree-top.
Plop, plop.
And scudding by
The boatmen call out hoy! and hey!
All is running water and sky,
And my head shrieks – "Stop,"
And my heart shrieks – "Die."
My thought is running out of my head;
My love is running out of my heart,
My soul runs after, and leaves me as dead,
For my life runs after to catch them -- and fled
They all are every one! – and I stand, and start,
At the water that oozes up, plop and plop,
On the barges that flop
And dizzy me dead.I might reel and drop.
Plop.
Dead.
And the shrill wind whines in the thin tree-top
Flop, plop.
A curse on him.
Ugh! yet I knew – I knew --
If a woman is false can a friend be true?
It was only a lie from beginning to end --
My Devil – My "Friend"
I had trusted the whole of my living to!
Ugh; and I knew!
Ugh!
So what do I care,
And my head is empty as air --
I can do,
I can dare,
(Plop, plop
The barges flop
Drip drop.)
I can dare! I can dare!
And let myself all run away with my head
And stop.
Drop.
Dead.
Plop, flop.

Plop.

No comments: