Sunday, February 28, 2010

William Topaz McGonagall

This week, Matt and I have been exploring the joys of McGonagall.

No, that's not some sort of little-known and ungainly sexual thing. William McGonagall was simply one of the most fascinating poets ever. He is the basis for Terry Pratchett's Nac Mac Feegle bards - the Gonnagles - who can scare off enemies with their terrible poetry.

I already knew his poem 'The Tay Bridge Disaster' (go and read it, then come back. I can wait, and it's totally worth it), but I hadn't realised that he'd written more than 200 poems. This will keep us in comedy gold for weeks!

He was a fascinating man, too. He only 'realised he was a poet' at the age of 52, and was wildly popular due to the consistant crappiness of his poems. Apparently, there's a theory that he knew exactly how bad he was, and his poetry was a form of performance art. Whether he did or he didn't, his work is amazing - the complete lack of scansion and horrific rhymes make his poems a wonder to behold.

A particular favourite of ours is 'The Dundee Flower Show', incorporating such awesome rhymes as:
And there were twenty four roses distinct to be seen
Belonging to James Cocker and Sons Aberdeen
Also some beautiful roses as ever sprang from the earth
And some of them belonging to Dickens & Turnbull Perth

Oh, and the best way to read these is out loud, to some poor victim, whilst holding the classic 'declaiming' pose - one hand on your heart, the other gesticulating wildly.

Now, in our marriage, Matt tends to bring the science and logic side, whereas I bring the creative and mental side. But Matt has totally found his creative niche with this. I can (as we call it) McGonagall, but it takes quite a lot of thinking. Matt effortlessly McGonagalls away, sometimes to quite a worrying extent.

An emailed poem he sent me at work this week:
Oh! Most beautiful Flora to whom I am writing upon this day,
It is with neither a feeling of sorrow nor either with a feeling of dismay,
That I am able to say,
That on this mornings journey from the midway point of Princes Street in Edinburgh to the Gyle,
Nothing did occur of a nature vile.
And so I was not sick of heart nor did it require to be restarted with intervention manual,
For there was seen by me a man out walking nearby to where there used to be a route for buses but is now the future site of tram lines with a spaniel.
And it were that I could'st observe this happening
For I had consum'd not whisky, rum or gin
So remember should you wish to live most happily
Consume not of the strong drink such as whisky, rum, gin or brandy.

I look forward with great joy to hearing of how you do fare
From where you are quite far away over there
And I am curious to hear what it is that for breakfast you did consume
So please do say soon.

And he referred to McGonagall as "the original McGonagall" yesterday. I think I should be worried.

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At 9:19 am, Blogger Nettie said...

lol that's hilarious :D

At 6:30 pm, Blogger Shawna said...

Love it! lol

At 6:46 pm, Anonymous DavePrime said...

oh Lord. Make it stop! LOL

This reminds me of voorgan? peotry in Bryan Adams Hitchiker's guide series.

Seriously bad..... LOL


At 7:04 pm, Blogger Matt said...

What can I say? I am undoubtedly a genius ;)

At 2:06 am, Blogger Smerk said...

Flora, yes, I think you should be worried!

At 4:41 am, Blogger Tah said...

From where came this worry,
Did you sup on curry?
So Matt is a genius,
That should make for happy us.
More bad poetry in the world,
He will undoubtedly write for his girl.
There is now no doubt he is a bad poet,
But did the rest of us really need to know it?

(I really don't want to rhyme my verifcation word, 'chsph'.
If I had to take a guess I'd end here with, 'cheesepuff'.)


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