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Unread 05-15-2002, 05:41 PM
Robert Swagman Robert Swagman is offline
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio USA
Posts: 271

Having read several of my poems here, everyone probably has their own idea of which one was worse, and each one could probably be argued on its own [lack of] merit. Not too many weeks ago I woke sometime after midnight with the ultimate inspiration. I grabbed the PDA from my nightstand. wrote furiously, and promptly went back to sleep. Here's the result of that inspired 180 seconds.

*** Please do not attempt this poem if you are pregnant, have a heart disease, or are subject to bouts of depression ***

On Opposite Banks

We are olives in the trees
clinging to branches
protected by leaves
as our ancestors were

the presses of our neighbors
would squeeze the oil from us
to fuel their own lamps

the teeth of brethren
would dessicate our meat
for their pleasure and need

The feet of righteous and unholy alike
trample us, grinding our seed
into the nurtureless sand

never pausing
to marvel at the trees themselves
thirsty roots
flowering buds
or the way their branches
reach to the sky.

p.s. I showed this to The Editor, who has been lovingly supportive for over 25 years, and she cried so hard she laughed.....

[This message has been edited by Robert Swagman (edited May 15, 2002).]
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Unread 05-15-2002, 06:44 PM
graywyvern graywyvern is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: dallas
Posts: 717

Originally posted by ginger:

no violet crocus hope

h'm. good title for my next poembook.

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Unread 05-15-2002, 07:47 PM
Melalope Melalope is offline
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Vinton, VA USA
Posts: 591

All right, I dug out my old journals that I've kept since I was 13 (my GOD I'm going to have to burn these!) Here's one:

Check out the line breaks: Remember I was 13 when I wrote this! (I kept the same spelling too!) Everyone might as well bow to the victor of worst poem!

I just want to sleep
for at least
of forever.

Not sleep and die
but sleep and dream.

I want to feel the truth lie
in my heart,
not in my head.

I want to believe this whole crazy world
is for the living, not forever dead.
I want dreams of truth
to become clear and sweet

I don't want dreams to lie and ferment
at dark destinies feet.

Games, damn games we play
Waisting! Waisting!
Life away
Why can't truth be told
but in dreams forever hold
hidden behind that wall of doubt
shouting, dying, begging, crying
"let me out."
Oh sweet sorrow of our own device
no reality I know can suffice
for the time spent on just one dream
is time not lost to an unthinking scheme.

Ha HA ha HA HA!!!!!!!

I think I win. What's sad, is I actually kept my journals and have two FULL of this kind of stuff. Oh I was convinced no one could write poetry like I could!

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Unread 05-15-2002, 08:43 PM
Tom Jardine Tom Jardine is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,501

Here is the beginning of the worst poem you have
ever read, absolutely insufferable. This will
convince your children to not write poetry.
The 3-4 lines of each stanza have the impossible
meter of /././/././ the others rough iambic.
I was 20 years old.

Venus and Adonias

When dawn and early love of light first came,
Fine mist droplets sailed wieghtless through the air,
Gently pushed by wind soft and eyelash tame,
Which filtered golden beams to blue's deep fair.
Here Time approached and opened wide his eyes,
for he knows beauty makes the curious wise.

Dark night made earth loose earthly hold,
Leaves and grass once dry rose and touched high clouds,
Gently greeting rain drops in baby mold,
Though with enlightening dawn earth keeps the shrouds.
In such a blue and airy sea all life
Is simplified and freed to honest strife.

A knoll some silloetted weeds make home
Is the worldly end flat against a wall,
As if night induced gravity to roam,
So steps go slow, not seeing heights to fall.
The sky swoops down and ankles hurried feet,
But minds horizonless see no retreat.

Tall evergreens grow holy temple halls,
Silent, where the birds fear attention kills.
Crickets sleep and rest tired from noisy brawls,
While amassing light moves closer over hills,
Replacing colors darkness took away,
So rainbow eyes may see their matinee.

Thus it proceeds over 1,500 lines, retelling the story
of Shakespeare's Venus and Adonias, with Adonias being a race car driver who gets killed in a race, rather than hunting boar. Can I claim it the worst AND longest poem?

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Unread 05-15-2002, 08:50 PM
momdebomb momdebomb is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: San Diego
Posts: 423

(another from High School)


As I lay 'neath the old willow tree
down by the brook, just being me,
the church bells rang, caressing the day.
The notes danced around me and floated away.

As I pondered the lingering sound
I got up and danced, and danced all around.
It thrilled me so much that I ran through the grass
and came upon fruit all made of glass.

I looked with awe on the marvelous gems
and picked two up by their delicate stems.
I looked even closer and what did I see?
It was me as I lay 'neath the old willow tree.

But it wasn't just me, there was someone else there.
He had sun in his smile and gold in his hair.
As I dropped the fruit to go back, as I feared,
they shattered, but as they did he appeared.

He held me close and held me tight
and we were married on that night.
I love him and he loves me
and our house is built beneath that tree.

[i]Ok, show me a poem worse than that!

Sharon P.
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Unread 05-15-2002, 10:07 PM
Solan Solan is offline
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Grimstad, home of Ibsen and Hamsun
Posts: 833

Sharon, I actually think that poem was charming, maybe with an exception of the last stanza. Put it up in Met 1 and work with it.

Tom, your poem was the most boring one so far; I had to slap myself awake several times.

Robert, it's good to see I am not alone in continuing to write things unworthy even of destruction by fire. Your poem made me laugh out loud. It belongs in some classic pantheon of poems that took their metaphor too far or something.

Why don't we analyse each of these poems to see what went wrong, and make an anti-poetry-learning website: Common and uncommon pitfalls in the writing of poetry.


-Svein Olav

[This message has been edited by Solan (edited May 15, 2002).]
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Unread 05-16-2002, 05:08 AM
Carol Taylor Carol Taylor is offline
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Posts: 7,797

Wow! What terrible poems and what great sports! Here I thought Fido was untouchable, but these dogs are snapping at his heels. Svein, most of these poems never went right, so I doubt it's worth analyzing where they went wrong. If we get enough of them maybe we should award a distinction for the ultimate worst, or at least select a few really remarkable ones for worst of class. Whom could we get to judge them? Probably have to be somebody who never wrote a bad poem himself.

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Unread 05-16-2002, 05:36 AM
Solan Solan is offline
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Grimstad, home of Ibsen and Hamsun
Posts: 833

A non-poet as a judge? That's a good idea, Carol!


-Svein Olav
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Unread 05-16-2002, 08:55 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is online now
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 14,684

I could be wrong, since it was a long time ago, but I think that XJ Kennedy and Keith Waldrop once co-edited an anthology of bad poems called "Pegasus Descending." The poets were famous, for the most part, and so the joke of the anthology was to show how bad the great poets can be from time to time. I think we could look to either of these gentleman as our judge, given this credential. And Joe Kennedy, it seems, has judged contests here on Erato before, has he not?
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Unread 05-16-2002, 02:12 PM
Robt_Ward Robt_Ward is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Cape Cod, MA, USA
Posts: 4,588

Sharon, Mel, Ginger:

Y'all have to excuse me, but I believe you're CHEATING. Poems from teenage days? Pffft! ANY teenager can write execrably bad poems.

The REAL art is to write them NOW, and to actually be convinced, as you write them, that they are GOOD.

THIS is sublime! THIS is worthy of a prize!

Now, go forth and write some crap, I dare you!

Oh, and Sharon? That's actually the beginnings of a decent poem, it's not even in the same league as Carol's puppy, Swagman's olives, or my ghosts...

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