Poet, Philosopher & Failure

Have you even chuckled at bad poetry? I have, and my taste is decidedly low-brow. An online group I follow, Angry People in Local Newspapers, shares the many amusing photos of people in the regional and local press, snapped pointing at litter or looking disgruntled outside their local council offices. Recently, they’ve branched out to celebrate the contributions of those supplying poetry for publication. Susan Booth is one such poet, who regales the Derby Telegraph with her best efforts. Here’s one called That’s Life:

Drab, Dank Unable To Breathe

A Place Where No One

Wishes To Live


Rat Ridden Filthy Street

Rubbish Piled High

Dustbins Adrift

Snooping Woman

Watches From Window

Whiff Of Cannabis

Seeps Through

Doubles, Single

Fills Empty Tubs

With Her Own


There’s another 30 lines, but you get the idea. I suspect that any verse I wrote would offer amusement to the reader, so I consequently don’t bother; I salute Ms Booth’s determination.

Though we may not be so bold in writing lyrics, each man reckons himself a philosopher. The ‘man in the street’, like ‘the bloke down the pub’, almost certainly has a world view upon which he enjoys elaborating and evangelising. One man says there’s no God, we’re alone in the universe. Another, that we are the descendants of aliens who will soon come back to see how we fare. One will talk about the justice of reincarnation, the next about how each of us goes to heaven and enjoys eternal rest. How we like to have opinions on things we know nothing about; how we like to defend and discuss them. In this respect, we consider ourselves philosophers rather than poets, though some, like Ms Booth, might claim to be both.


At St Peter’s churchyard, Heysham, is the gravestone of Sarah Hannah Jones, who departed this life on 5th September, 1909. Upon her otherwise attractive Celtic cross memorial are inscribed the words: POET PHILOSOPHER & FAILURE. No explanation for this carved verdict is offered, and nothing is known to posterity. Whether it was a spouse or relative’s parting insult or a truthful summary of a wasted life, one cannot tell. Yet I wonder if it might be said of each one of us. As previously stated, few of us are brave enough to venture into the rarefied world of lyrical expression, but we all enjoy speculating about life’s big questions. Consequently, we die as we lived- as ignorant failures. Our conjectures, speculations and imaginative ramblings are usually wrong. God has vouchsafed to us His word, the Bible. Of heaven and hell, it speaks; of angels, demons and men, it teaches. Of the way of salvation, it sounds a trumpet blast across our vain ramblings and philosophical conceits. The Christian may not be known for his education and articulation, his views may be deemed old fashioned and out of touch, but as he enters the bright realms of eternity, he hears those welcome words:

“Well done, good and faithful servant”.

Photos: CAB