This 1874 poem by Belgian-born poet Theophilus Marzials was named "The worst poem ever written in the English language" in the collection Very Bad Poetry, edited by Kathryn Petras and Ross Petras; the book notes that the "Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain" agreed with them. It is also included in Western Michigan University literature professor Seamus Cooney's "Bad Poetry" website (and indeed, I think this poem gives Vogon poetry a run for its money). It was originally found in Marzials' collection The Gallery of Pigeons (formatting preserved from original).

      The barges down in the river flop.
                  Flop, plop.
            Above, beneath.
      From the slimy branches the grey drips drop,
      As they scraggle black on the thin grey sky,
      Where the black cloud rack-hackles drizzle and fly
      To the oozy waters, that lounge and flop
      On the black scrag piles, where the loose cords plop,
      As the raw wind whines in the thin tree-top.
                  Plop, plop.
            And scudding by
      The boatmen call out hoy! and hey!
      All is running water and sky,
            And my head shrieks -- "Stop,"
            And my heart shrieks -- "Die."

      *          *          *          *          * 

      My thought is running out of my head;
      My love is running out of my heart,
      My soul runs after, and leaves me as dead,
      For my life runs after to catch them -- and fled
      They all are every one! -- and I stand, and start,
      At the water that oozes up, plop and plop,
      On the barges that flop
                                    And dizzy me dead. 
      I might reel and drop.

      And the shrill wind whines in the thin tree-top
                                 Flop, plop.
   *          *          *          *          *

      A curse on him.
                                Ugh! yet I knew -- I knew --
      If a woman is false can a friend be true?
      It was only a lie from beginning to end --
                  My Devil -- My "Friend"
      I had trusted the whole of my living to!
            Ugh; and I knew!
            So what do I care,
      And my head is empty as air --
                  I can do,
                  I can dare,
            (Plop, plop
            The barges flop
            Drip drop.)
                  I can dare! I can dare!
      And let myself all run away with my head
      And stop.
                  Plop, flop.


Sources: and Kathryn and Ross Petras' Very Bad Poetry, 1997.

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