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Doggerel

Bad verse traditionally characterized by clichés, clumsiness, and irregular meter. It is often unintentionally humorous. The “giftedly bad” William McGonagall was an accomplished doggerelist, as demonstrated in “The Tay Bridge Disaster”:

            It must have been an awful sight,
            To witness in the dusky moonlight,
            While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
            Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
            Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
            I must now conclude my lay
            By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
            That your central girders would not have given way,
            At least many sensible men do say,
            Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
            At least many sensible men confesses,
            For the stronger we our houses do build,
            The less chance we have of being killed.

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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