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14 Apr 2004

The Happy Little Cripple and Other Favorites.

Written by sally @ 8:44 am — Section: sally

My friend Meg gave me this great book called Very Bad Poetry. It contains very bad poetry with snarky comments by the editors. Each author gets a standard Norton Anthology-esque introduction, with critical highlights from his or her career.

I couldn’t decide which of these to post, so I am posting all of my favorites. Here, I give you very bad poetry.

A Pretty Girl
J. Gordon Coogler (1865-1901)

On her beautiful face there are smiles of grace
That linger in beauty serene,
And there are no pimples encircling her dimples,
As ever, as yet, I have seen.

My Last Tooth
Anonymous, c. 1890

You have gone, old tooth,
Though hard to yield,
You have long stood alone,
Like a stub in the field.

Farewell, old tooth…
That tainted my breath,
And tasted as smells
A woodpecker’s nest.

from The Happy Little Cripple
James Whitcome Riley (1849-1916)

I’m thist a little crippled boy, an’ never goin’ to grow
An’ git a great big man at all!–’cause Aunty told me so.
When I was this a baby onc’t I falled out of the bed
An’ got “The Curv’ture of the Spine”–‘ats what the Doctor said.
I never had no Mother nen–fer my Pa runned away
An’ dassn’t come back here no more–’cause he was drunk one day
An’ stobbed a man in thish-ere town, an’ couldn’t pay his fine!
An’ nen my Ma she died–an’ I got “Curv’ture of the Spine”!

I’m nine years old! an’ you can’t guess how much I weigh, I bet!
Last birthday I weighed thirty three! An’ I weigh thirty yet!
I’m awful little for my size–I’m purt’ nigh littler ‘an
Some babies is!–an’ neighbors all calls me “The Little Man!”
An’ Doc one time he laughed and said: “I ‘spect, first thing you know,
You’ll have a spike-tail coat an’ travel with a show!”
An’ nen I laughed–till I looked round an’ Aunty was a-cryin’–
Sometimes she acts like that, ’cause I got “Curv’ture of the Spine!”

9 Responses to “The Happy Little Cripple and Other Favorites.”

  1. pinky said:

    you’re right, these are bad. but i did like the happy cripple one. it’s kinda sad and funny all at once.

  2. Sally said:

    My favorite is the awesome simile in the tooth poem: “And tasted as smells / A woodpecker’s nest”?? Genius!!

  3. ms.comrade said:

    any jewel poems on the horizon?

  4. Kicker of Elves said:

    god, that cripple poem is a classic example of “so bad it’s awesome.” It’s sort of like full-frontal audacity: the author sees fit not only to bludgeon you with the Rosetta stone of pathos — a crippled child — but also to burden you with the knowledge that this is a crippled ORPHAN! Whose doctor calls him a sideshow freak! And it’s in po-folk vernacular! Hilarious!

    As for Jewel, I’ll try to dig up and post Spin’s review of A Night Without Armor, which discusses the beauty of the book’s typesetting, font, binding, paper quality, etc. but contains not one mention of the “poetry” contained therein. It’s one of the meanest bad reviews I’ve ever seen.

  5. vendela said:

    best bad poet ever: maestro rod mckuen
    i give you his

    Dangerous Liasons

    I have fallen in love with the world
    And I am aware that I have chosen
    the most dangerous lover of them all.
    I kiss the bare feet of the forenoon
    undress the shadows all along the wall
    and on non sunny days
    I copulate with clouds.

    There is bird song in the mornings. I
    imagine, no I know, it is meant for only me.
    Little sparrow, serenade me. Sing sweetly
    lover, cover me.

    Once I thought I’d charmed the breeze,
    trees laughed at me. Foolish suitor of
    the world you might have been less
    ambitious in your quest.
    But love is love and I will do my very best
    to please the lady.

    Smokestacks also, not just nature, put
    their wide black arms around my middle,
    hold me, haunt me, want me to embrace
    the fatal feted air they bellow, belch..
    Sounds I hear are my beloved world’s sighs.

    Fouled faded factories too, eye in awe this
    hapless lover, doomed to dream of world
    embraces as he chases down the hill and
    highways worn by other lovers who may
    have missed the world’s soft kisses.

    I who chased the rainbows once have
    been seen erasing phrases I punched out
    and sent seaward in brown bottles with
    no destination preannounced to some land lubber.

  6. RD said:

    If only one could find a poem that uses both “onc’t” and “land lubber.” Now that would rule.

  7. Sally said:

    You should write it, and then I will post it as the poem of the day. What about that one about the people who fell in love in the grease spot in the parking lot? Or were those song lyrics?

  8. RD said:

    I remember no lovin’ of a grease spot. Remind me and I’ll see what I can do! Would you prefer haiku or a saucy limerick?

  9. Sally said:

    We were in the parking lot of the Video USA and some motorcycle kids were making out in a grease spot.

    I think it was a song. Something about “I caressed your hair, we were in a grease spot but I didn’t care.”