This very evening we shall be repairing to local hostelry The Yellow Book to hear the work of a young poet called Professor Elemental. I’m not sure which academic institute awarded him this title, so cannot speak on that point, but I have heard that he is a first rate wordsmith. Interestingly, there is a novelty element to his literature in that he has set his work to a sort of rhythmic drumming. This shall be interesting to observe although frankly I don’t think this sort of thing is likely to catch on.
But thinking of great poetry set to music I was reminded of the famous poet William McGonagall whose own ode The Famous Tay Whale was set to music. Those unfamiliar with Mr McGonagall’s work are urged to seek it out forthwith. His use of language and masterful command of metre are truly breathtaking.
Of course famous though this work is, perhaps his greatest poem is The Tay Bridge Disaster. The opening and ending are included here to allow you, gentle Reader, to bask in wonder at the power of this work. So evocative and profound is this writing, it has been known to reduce men to tears.
Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.
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.