very bad poetry

According to various sources, the 18th was National Bad Poetry Day.  Thanks to the internet, there is a virtually never-ending stream of terrible verse out there for the reading, and I thought that I would contribute to it by airing some of my poetic dirty laundry.  I wrote these poems in high school; they were even considered good enough to be in my school’s literary magazine.  Reading them now, though, makes me seriously question how I managed to get into the young writers’ conferences that I went to throughout high school…


I want to say something new.
I want to express the beauty
Of an idea never before unfolded.
I want to awaken the bud unknown,
Find in the corner of the great garden of wisdom
Some new seed.
What themes are left unwritten,
What stones left unturned,
What word left unspoken?
I sit with my pen poised,
An expectant hunter waiting for the kill,
A musician waiting for the cue,
A runner waiting for the gun.
But it does not come;
The shot does not ring out in my mind.
My pen does not spring at the page
With a flourish of ink and eloquence,
For what can it write
That has not been written before?
Is there no originality left in the world?
Has all been said that will be said?
Has all been done that will be done?
Oh, it is a sad prospect indeed.


I am a tree.
Not just in my name,
For what’s in a name?
No, I am rooted in the Earth,
And I stand fast
Against the harsh wind,
And I am silent
But always present.
And I spread my branches
Toward the sky,
My leaf tips reaching
For the corners of the universe,
For the limitless stars.
Yes, I am a tree.


2 Responses

  1. Ahh, “Thoughts” rings a bell, I’ve been looking for something I wrote a long time ago, and the line I remember most is “what more’s to be said, when all has been said?”, which I am sure pleased me no end at the time. (There was also something about a burning bush, and I rhymed “grey celtic dawn” with “muted horn”. Sigh.) And the relief I felt when writing fiction, when a friend remarked “originality in plot is so undergraduate”. It was only a little while later that I realised that still left originality in theme, language, expression, narrative voice, etc.

    • I think I was concerned with intellectual originality when I wrote Thoughts. I wanted to have ideas that were new, make points that were breaking new ground. I suppose in terms of writing fiction, that would be similar to originality in theme. The issue of originality, for me, actually comes up more in my humanities classes than in my writing of poetry. I constantly feel pressure to try to come up with new conclusions to resolve old arguments (who knows if I ever actually succeed).

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