“You can’t let your failures define you. You have to let your failures teach you.”
“Failure is success in progress.”
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
-Winston Churchill -though, actually, probably from an advertisement in the 1920’s.
I asked for engineering failures and terrible poetry, and everyone delivered. In fact, you all delivered so well that I’ve been debating the same six poems back and forth for a few hours.
Since our literary failures do not mean a literal catastrophic result, however, I’ll leave you in suspense no longer. The winner is Bruce Goodman.
Thou wert my gate
Thou wert my gate
in the fence of life;
a doorway in the
corridor of existence;
a hole in the
wall of being
Now you have shut the
entrance to your heart
and I am shattered into a pile of quaking reinforced concrete .
No more will I hear your euphonious voice
wafting over the plastic barrier of time;
no more will my nostrils sense the scent
of your hair on the yellow brick road of vivacity.
Oh the audacity!
You have become an engineering failure,
a total engineering failure;
in fact you are the biggest engineering failure
I have ever encountered in my life.
And you are fat.
I wish you all the Botox you can lay your hands on.
You need it.
You have no reason to blow your own trumpet
for thou art a total engineering failure!
Thou wert my gate
in the fence of life
but now you are just a pile of rocks –
to say nothing of your choice in tasteless frocks.
Like I said, many poems were contenders at the end. I liked the short and sweet of a few; the long and rambling of the others. I like the lessons taught, the meters distraught, and the rhymes that were naught …good.
Bruce’s contribution ultimately won because it sounds very serious and poetic in many ways: word choice, alliterative references, more serious meter. Then, we’ve got the completely misplaced “And you are fat. / I wish you all the Botox you can lay your hands on. / You need it.” His final stanza returns us to the original serious poeming with the humorous element he dropped on us like an indigestible rock.
Again, not that the other poems didn’t give Bruce a run for his nonexistent money. I loved them all, and know you will too:
An Engineer’s Lament
by Deb Whittam
Oh let us lament
The failures we must confront
Oft it is not us
The engineers proclaim
It’s that other thing
Which is to blame
We see your look of doubt
But let me tell you with clout
It’s true you see
It’s the pressure valves fault, not me.
They once built a bridge to a star
Oh, that’s so incredibly far
But relativity it seems
Is more than bad dreams
So the warped space time continuum over the light years, uhm, yeah, uhm, made it hard to reach by car?
yeah, that’s it, made it hard to reach by car.
I once built a bridge, that is true
One to reach from me over to you
But my skill was too weak
So it fell in the creek
And now I’m terribly blue
First Thing’s First
I built a
At first it wouldn’t bark
Then it wouldn’t hark
To anything I said.
It swam there, tarried there
And drove me to Timbuktu
When I wanted to go to Malibu.
So I shot it
In the hull
And now the problem, I think, is solved.
Glub, glub, glub.
Oh dear. What whim.
There’s only one thing for it: Can I swim?
Casey Jones, you big dummy.
You drove the train too fast and you crashed.
And then you died.
(Note to reader: insert head shake here)
This poem’s apposed to be about engineering fails
and not engineer fails?
Well color me stupid.
I can’t carry a tune in a bucket
and I guess I can’t read directions so just…
…don’t buck it.
The New Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
‘Twas a springtime morning out in old Lindenhurst when Tommy O’Leary decided to make him a car.
So he put on his very bestest greenest threads as he burst out with joy to all his assembled friends: ‘My Chitty Chitty Bang Bang moment awaits, I tell you!!’
The local townsfolk have sworn since then, that a raven and peacock flew by flew by, that a raven and peacock flew by.
‘Within five weeks my five step process’ , says he, ‘will yield a spectacular car, a car. It will yield a spectacular car.
To his shame he made it of light balsa wood and that didn’t bode well in a crash a crash. No that didn’t bode well in a crash.
The December morning air smelled cool, fresh,
Coals of industry a faint background scent.
Bhopal contained an old pesticide plant
That employed locals and brought in money.
The methyl isocyanate
Built pressure in the old vessels,
But the aging pipes and valves failed.
They thought the meter
Failed and went on home
To leave the pressure
Building on and on.
Agony of 3,787 deaths
Many more injuries, some severe
No litigation could repay this woe
But it failed to bring justice anyway.
Innocents were killed, but money was made,
Fulfilling the prophecy of profit.
The master designer has failed
He really should be put into jail
He gave her six toes
And a long pointy nose
She now wears a long dark veil
The DNA put in her body
Was very very naughty
It made her get sick
Turned her muscles to ick
That is the end of this story
Anatomical Mars vs Venus
by Violet Lentz
purported as divine creation
supposedly perfect in every way
I have reason to believe, the plans were drafted
on the of’t disputed creators, off day.
with the parts over here
being just enough off
from the parts they’re
to connect with over there
practice and patience
are often required-
which could take till long after
the ‘use by date’ had expired
so ‘creation one’ took the problem in hand
and after a hormonal cocktail or two
one upped creation with video porn, so now we look good-
doing what we still can’t figure out, how to do.
Epic fail I declare
The engineer used defective parts
Was he not aware
Of the pain I must bear
Or does he really not care
I see the best in folk
Giving the benefit of doubt
Eagerly seeking the good
Leaving the bad to one side
F*** it in this case
A complete bellend
Arrogant and spiteful
Greedy and self serving
Egotistical political parasite
This entire project was always quite cursed
There’s a crack in the dam it’s gonna burst!
As engineers go, I’m definitely the worst
They may as well have hired Fred Durst
So I’m off with my suitcase full of money
Off to the fabled land of milk and honey
In a way you could say it’s almost funny
Now I’m off to a place that’s quiet and sunny.
Thanks everyone, you terrible poets you! Come back tomorrow for next week’s prompt!
Bruce: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:
Well; hi, there! Do you like to poem? Yes? No?
Either way, you’re in the right place. This here’s The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. We’ve been in business for 26 weeks. Check out the somewhat informative post on terrible poeting for some tips and tricks, then read this week’s specifics:
- Topic: Engineering fails. You can write a lament dedicated to an actual, catastrophic, historic fail; or limerick about a fanciful one.
- Keep the Length between 9 and 199 words.
- Rhyming is purely optional, but intentional misuse is always a great way to destroy a potentially great poem.
- Most of all, write terribly! I want the engineers studying failures throughout history to read over your creation, shake their heads, and unanimously declare your poem to be the worst disaster the world has ever experienced.
- Keep the wording at a G-rating, for the impressionable members of the research team.
You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (May 24) to submit a poem.
If you wish a week’s worth of anonymity, use the form. Leave me a comment saying that you did as well, so we are sure it was submitted.
To be more social, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.
Whatever you do, have fun!
We are very close to the end of our list of cures for depression. We’ve covered everything from connecting with a person to talking to a professional to medicating to exercising to last week’s post on mindfulness.
So… that pretty much makes you an expert now, right?
I’m going to take a really wild guess that you haven’t implemented any of these suggestions. Yes, I’m psychic. Or… I know this because I also haven’t moved from my lazy habits one titch. In fact, I’ve actually worsened in …um…. about half the areas.
My negative self-talkers are in process of lighting torches and hefting pitchforks. “You’re a failure!” They chant, preparing to run my motivation out of the forest forever.
“Hold up there!” I reply. I’m actually not a failure. I even wrote about a new title for those with mental illness! We’re not failures. We’re HUMAN!
Instead of giving up, I’m going to brush forest moss from my coat and pick the leaves out of my hair. I’m fine. You’re fine. We’re all fine with -nevermind.
But no more slacking, fellow human. Sit up. Pick an item from the list. Close your eyes and point if you need to. Let’s see: you got “exercise.” That’s easy! Read the blog post I wrote and follow along with my simple step-by-step directions. I even kept it short just in case your attention span wanders like mine….
Where were we? Oh. Attention stuff. Yeah, so, if you could go ahead and pick one that would be great, mmmkay?
Just one. Do it and stop making excuses.
If you are more motivated than I and have already completed one or more of the suggestions, bravo! Pat yourself on the back and eat a bit of chocolate unless you’re reading this after 8 p.m. Get to bed at a reasonable time, and pick another idea to try tomorrow.
Pick another idea after that one.
The main idea is to try. I don’t even care if you stop after a bit; it’s the trying that matters. After simply trying a few, you are going to notice something important: what helps, and what’s not-so-helpful.
Let’s say that aerobic exercise stressed you out more, yoga in the morning helped you want to keep working your crummy job, eating organic got really expensive, and your psychiatrist moved to another state. Which of these items needs to stay, class?
Don’t red marker them out of existence; this is more of an “edit the sentence to make it correct” exercise.
aerobic exercise stressed you out more, and write I will walk outside for half an hour at lunch. Change the yoga bit to a simple I love doing yoga before work. Organic got really expensive can now read Healthy foods don’t have to be organic; I’ll pick up some produce on sale and eat it with my meals. As to your psychiatrist? I’m going to ask around for a new psychiatrist, including asking mine for a good referral.
See how that works? Great! Homework time! Your assignment, due soon, is the following:
- Try! That’s all: try one of the cures for depression.
- Try another.
- Ditto, for about 12 more items.
- Look at what worked. Edit your observations in a positive manner.
Now for the most difficult part: DO what works.
Which, of course, is NOT difficult. We just make it that way. Change really isn’t the mountain we see it to be. Change is actually a few small steps to a shortcut we can’t see from the trailhead. That shortcut may require climbing gear and a sherpa, but it’s there and it’s possible.
You’re stronger than you think -but not invincible. Don’t get lazy by dropping the practices and routines that made your life more tolerable. That make your life happy.
Keep at it. You are worth it.
*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.
“…If we had locked ourselves in a prison of failure and self-pity we were the only jailers… We had the only key to our freedom.”
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