McGonagall, reviled in life and death as one of the worst poets ever, is enjoying something of a campy renaissance, and a portfolio of a bunch of broadsides is about to go for a pretty penny. I’d buy that if I had the money. And if poets came over, I’d lovingly take them out and show them as though they were rare Ted Hughes publications–of which I was an exceedingly proud owner–without the betraying slightest hint I was aware of their status in the poetry world. Full of awe, I’d quote passages aloud, letting the final words disappear into a hushed silence of reverent head-nodding.
Oh! Think of the working man when he’s no work to do,
Who’s got a wife and family, perhaps four or two,
And the father searching for work, and no work can be had,
The thought, I’m sure, ’tis enough to drive the poor man mad.
Because for his wife and family he must feel,
And perhaps the thought thereof will cause him to steal
Bread for his family, that are starving at home,
While the thought thereof makes him sigh heavily and groan.
Alas! The pangs of hunger are very hard to hide,
And few people can their temper control,
Or become reconciled to their fate,
Especially when they cannot find anything to eat.
“Mmm. Mmm. True dat. Words of wisdom,” I’d say. “Words. Of. Wisdom.” Think of it as the cheapest way to keep poets out of your house.