A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bad Poetry: A Tragedy

Théophile Marzials, pre-Raphaelite poet/librarian, was born in Belgium in 1850 to French parents. He set poems of Christina Rossetti to music, and some of his works were illustrated by Walter Crane. His poem "A Tragedy" was published in "A Gallery of Pigeons and Other Poems" in 1874.

"A Tragedy" was elected "worst poem ever written in the English language" by both Stephen Pile in his Book of Heroic Failures: Official Handbook of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain, and by Kathryn and Ross Petras in their Very Bad Poetry. Just goes to show that you can't escape your destiny. Something compelled Marzials to emigrate to Great Britain and begin writing in English, just so that he could reap this honor over a century later.

A Tragedy

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.
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!
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.
Plop, flop.


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Blogger Dunzy said...

From this master's other work, I must add a luminous Pre-Raphaelite fragment from a collection of songs (now, blessedly, hushed):

“And also there’s a little star
So white a virgin’s it must be:—
Perhaps the lamp my love in heaven
Hangs out to light the way for me.”

1:48 PM  

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