Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Is this a bad poem?

As you all know the Bad Poets Society convenes Friday October 23rd at 8pm at the Spiegel Auditorium in Harvard Square. For once though, I'm gonna play it differently and give everyone an early glimpse at the selection process behind BPS. Below is some poesy written by Vaudeville Star Olga Petrova (aka Muriel Harding) she got into a hopeless row with the famous Keith-Albee vaudeville circuit circa 1916 or so when she insisted on reading the below poem as part of her act.
The poem was derided as "indecent" much to the chagrin of Ms. Petrova.
My question is simple, take a moment to read this poem and ask yourself these questions "Is it bad, is it bad enough to warrant inclusion in the Bad Poets Society if so what makes it bad?"

"To a Child that Enquires"
by Olga Petrova (nee' Muriel Harding)

How did you come to me, my sweet?
From the land that no man knows?
Did Mr. Stork bring you here on his wings?
Were you born in the heart of a rose?

Did an angel fly with you down from the sky?
Were you found in a gooseberry patch?
Did a fairy bring you from fairyland
To my door - That was left on the latch?

No - My darling was born of a wonderful love,
A love that was daddy's and mine.
A love that was human, but deep and profound,
A love that was almost divine.

Do you remember, sweetheart, when we went to the Zoo?
And we saw that big bear, with a grouch?
And the tigers, and lions, and that tall kangaroo
That carried her babies in a pouch?

Do you remember I told you she kept them there safe
From the cold and the wind, till they grew
Big enough to take care of themselves,
Well, dear heart, that's just how I cared for you.

I carried you under my heart, my sweet,
And I sheltered you, safe from alarms,
Till one wonderful day the dear God looked down -
And I cuddled you tight in my arms!

Well whaddya think is it bad? Post a comment one way or another I'm on the fence with this one.


Quislet said...

It is pretty bad. But do I want to hear it now that I've read it? I don't know.

Colin said...

Wow, that makes me kinda nauseous. As a veteran reader, however, I'm not 100% convinced if it's bad enough. I had to read it outloud. It's very saccarine and twee, but I'm not sure how truly terrible it is.

Lis said...

Eh. It's just a blah poem, that might have seemed scandalous in 1916, but now it's just more of a "family" poem, personal to the receiver, but not really for public consumption, since it's more boring than anything else.

Zolok said...

Well there are some poor rhymes that "speak" better than they read, that being one of the key components of a BPS-worthy poem.
It is very twee but it comes out of a very twee era of vaudeville. Nonetheless I'm still curious about other people's reactions...someone? anyone?
(Crickets chirp happily on the soundtrack)

evelyn said...

It's twee for sure, but it's not world-class bad. It's not making me cringe, smirk or gag.

Colin said...

For me, the poem lacks ambition. It's merely twee, not nearly florid enough that a good vintage poem should be. It's just sort of m'eh. Next to McGonagall, she's ee cummings.

That said, I'm sure anyone of us could knock it out of the park-even me, and that's not the style I usually am called upon to read (perhaps there's a poem out there titled "I Whooped Olga Petrova's Ass"?) Of course people would laugh at it like Carrie at the prom, but I don't find it especially terrible-it just makes me throw up a little in my mouth...