Seamus Cooney
Studies in Verse
The Nature of Poetry

Julia Moore's Contemporary Rivals in Badness

The following extracts are taken from an article, "The Kazoo School of Verse," by Professor Bradley Hayden, which appeared in Chronicle: The Quarterly magazine of the Historical Society of Michigan, 19:1 (Spring 1983), 4-13.

My childhood days have passed and gone,
And it fills my heart with pain
To think that youth will nevermore
Return to me again.
And now kind friends, what I have wrote,
I hope you will pass o'er,
And not criticize, as some have done,
Hitherto herebefore.

from Julia Moore, "The Author's Early Life"

Dr. William Fuller

Mother's Troubles

Mother with children all the while,
Tired and weary, she'll hardly smile;
Working so hard, she's nearly sick,
The children's noise to stamp and kick.

Her nerves so weak she cannot beat
Their weeping cries to rock the chair;
Husband at home, so cross he speaks,
Aside she steps and there she weeps.

'Tis then she'll wish she ne'er was born,
For life seem dark and all forlorn;
But when their friet and all is over,
Happy they'll feel like pigs in clover.

from From Cradle to the Grave (Ionia, MI: Dr. William Fuller, 1888), p. 14.

J. B. Smiley

[from] Beautiful Springs

The north winds are still and the blizzards at rest,
All in the beautiful spring.
The dear little robins are building their nests,
All in the beautiful spring.
The tramp appears and for lodging begs,
The old hen setteth on turkey eggs,
And the horse has scratches in all four legs,
All in the beautiful spring.


On the outskirts are celery marshes
Which only a few years ago
Were as wet as a drugstore in Kansas
And as worthless as marshes could grow,
Well some genius bethought him to drain them
And to add in a short year or two
About eighty-five thousand dollars
To the income of Kalamazoo.

The Michigan Insane Asylum
Is up on the top of the hill,
And some irresponsible crazies
Meander around there at will,
And they frequently talk to a stranger,
And they sometimes escape, it is true,
But the folks are not all of them crazy
Who hail from Kalamazoo.

from either A Basket of Chips (Kalamazoo, MI: J. B. Smiley, 1888) or Meditations of Samuel Wilkins (Kalamazoo, MI: J. B. Smiley, 1886).

  • Return to the Index of bad poems.