OK. It’s stale news, me being the winner of the world’s worst love poem.
In the nineties and early 2000’s I used to subscribe to a writer’s ezine called Inscriptions.
Unfortunately, it’s no longer in existence, just in case any of you budding writers rush off to look for it! Back in the day, it was extremely popular with every writer from newbies to well-established, published authors to reporters and journalists.
The woman who owned Inscriptions, Jade Walker, got a job with the New York Times. Wow! Yay! I’m a little foggy on the details after all these years, but I believe her online magazine became an issue with the NY Times and that staff couldn’t be running a competing business. The owner sold Inscriptions to another woman who sporadically published it, and then changed its name to something I’ve long since forgotten. The new owner continued to sporadically publish, but the content was never the same and I unsubscribed. I have no idea if its still active…
Over the years, I occasionally received a newsletter from Jade Walker, so she must have saved her Inscriptions mailing list. That newsletter eventually fizzled out, maybe part of that non-compete thing.
Back in the Inscriptions days, the owner used to run monthly contests with various prize packages.
Then in January, about 20 years ago, Inscriptions announced the world’s worst poetry contest, to be published in time for the February, Valentine’s Day edition.
The prizes were right up my alley! A $50 gift certificate for Amazon.com and a box of chocolates! My two favorite things! Books and chocolates!
That motivated me to enter, but I’m no poet.
Seeing how this was a contest for bad poetry, maybe I had a shot. So I borrowed the cadence from an old Christopher Marlowe poem, The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.
Who remembers learning that poem in either high school or university English class?
It took me 15 minutes to write what I hoped might be the world’s worst love poem. Then I talked myself out of waiting and coming back to it later to tweak it and make changes. This was supposed to be a bad poem, so I emailed my entry immediately.
And yes, I won! I wrote the world’s worst love poem! A truly awful piece of prose!
I still remember that the 3rd place finisher was W.P. Kinsella, a Canadian author best known for Shoeless Joe that became the Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams. So, it’s accurate to say that I’m a worse poet than W.P. Kinsella!
I received an email with the code for the $50 to spend at Amazon. This was back in the days before Amazon Canada.
I was disappointed that I didn’t actually receive chocolates. Instead I received a $20 gift code for Godiva chocolates web site. Imagine my disappointment when I went to their site and found that they only ship to the lower 48 states. No good to a Canadian winner! 🙁 🙁 🙁
Luckily, my favorite aunt lived in California so I used my gift code and sent a box of chocolates to her, much to her great surprise when she received them in the mail.
Enough of my memories. Let’s get to the winning entry, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
The Forgetful Maiden to Her, her, her… (with apologies to Christopher Marlowe)
Come live with me and find my glove
Your reward is my undying love.
For I am forever losing things,
I swear my possessions all sprouted wings.
And we will sit upon the docks,
And watch the waves crash on the rocks.
My love for you is like these flumes,
A rose in summer that always blooms.
No cap of flowers, no buckles of gold,
Help find my glasses before I grow old.
They’re lost forever and that makes me sad,
Please find them for me and make me glad.
Keep an eye out for my gown of fine wool,
Then we’ll enjoy a swim in the pool.
And I’ll gaze adoringly into your eyes,
Find my things, and I’m your prize.
I’ll give you pleasures all year round
If you brave the snow and find my lost hound.
I opened the door and he bounded out,
If you bring him back, I’ll nevermore pout.
Every night we’ll sing and dance,
Come live with me and take a chance.
Incredible delights await you my love,
But first find my glasses, my hound and my glove!
Don’t worry readers! There will be no more poems around here from me!
This post was published on February 13, 2021.