Good morning (or whatever) and welcome to the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest! Today marks our 59th contest, and Half-Priced Chocolate Day!
I normally encourage entrants to follow basic rules; today, however, I’ve decided we need to bring back a type of poem that’s terrible for a reason other than cliché composition. I speak of the Little Willie poems.
Here are the specifics, copied from the last time we tried these:
- The Topic is to write a Little Willie poem. The name comes from a way of writing poetry that was popular in the early 1900s.
From A Treasury of Laughter*:
“Every paper began to print ‘ruthless rhymes,’ and every contributor tried to invent a catastrophe more gory in event and more nonchalant in effect than its predecessor. The favorite ‘hero’ was Willie, and although other characters sometimes crept into the quatrains, the terse lines became known as ‘Little Willies.’”
I included three of the tamest examples at the end of this post.
- The Length is about four lines, a quatrain. Some were written as limericks or a double quatrain; but most were short, clever, and darkly humorous.
- Rhyming is imperative. These poems usually follow an A/A/B/B pattern.
- As I said, this week the poems are terrible because of their message. I expect darker tones, questionable humor, and stretches into creative venues writers never knew they had. If you’re sensitive, stay away. If you’re twisted, come on in.
- One might be tempted to up the Rating, but this is the sort of clever writing that makes readers uncomfortable but stays in the PG range.
You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (February 21) to submit a poem.
Use the form below to stay anonymous for a week.
If not, and for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments. If you use a pingback, leave a comment if it doesn’t show up within a day.
Last iteration‘s winners:
Little Willie took a swim
Thinking the piranhas wouldn’t eat him
Don’t you think he was awfully silly
To assume a fish didn’t like Willie?
A Helping Hand
Poor Willie said
he wished he was dead.
I wished the same
so I took aim.
And, from A Treasury of Laughter:
Willie fell down the elevator —
Wasn’t found till six days later.
Then the neighbors sniffed, “Gee whizz!
What a spoiled child Willie is!”
Little Willie from the mirror
Sucked the mercury all off,
Thinking, in his childish error,
It would cure the whooping cough.
At the funeral his mother,
Weeping, said to Mrs. Brown:
” ‘Twas a chilly day for Willie
When the mercury went down!”
Pair of skates;
Hole in the ice;
*Quote and poem examples taken from A Treasury of Laughter, Simon and Schuster, New York, ©1946