Really Bad Poetry

The poem text reads as follows:

A Jewel or a Crown

“As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman
which is without discretion.”
Proverbs 11:22

“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband:
but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”
Proverbs 12:4

Young lady i say on your wedding day
which would you rather be found
it’s up to you, what will you do?
You’ll be either a jewel or a crown

Will your sweet valentine be an old nasty swine
as you adorn the tip of his snout?
to live in his wallow, will be a hard pill to swallow
But once married there’s no way out!

Why not instead, be the crown on his head
of the man God Chose for you?
Your marriage will be blessed, instead of a mess
When you finally say “I DO!”

But I know of course, the pressure and force
Those old hogs can place on your mind
So I won’t be surprised when some compromise
and on a pig’s snout they I find!

Young Lady I say on your wedding day
Which would you rather be found?
It’s Up to you what will you do?
You’ll be either a jewel or a crown.

David W. Handley
(Selected by the INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF POETS for publication 2002)

110 thoughts on “Really Bad Poetry”

  1. What utter hogslop. I just love how that word comes in handy in situations such as this. :mrgreen:

  2. List of things I don’t think I’ve ever heard in a poem.
    1. Hog
    2. Snout
    3. Old nasty swine
    4. Live in his wallow

  3. THIS is the reason the Vogons destroy the earth. Does anyone have Arthur Dent’s address handy? I have extra peanuts.

    1. IIRC, the International Society of Poets sends mass mailings to people who have bought books from the sort of company that sells its mailing list. You submit your poem with a small fee and unless it’s downright obscene or hyperviolent, it’s automatically “selected.” Then you get to buy a big old book that has your poem stuffed into it along with a couple thousand others and call yourself a published poet. This scam has been ticking along for years.

      1. Yeah, it’s essentially a vanity press; they’ll “publish” anything as long as it’s not pornographic.

      2. In fact, I wonder if they would really reject poems that are hyperviolent and pornographic. Has anybody here tried submitting one as an experiment?

      3. That’s pretty lame. Sounds like the National Honor Society (remember that book they would try to sell you in high school if you had good grades?). Your name and school would be in this huge book with thousands of others. Christian schools liked to brag that they had students in those books. Lame.

        1. You mean the “Who’s who”, not NHS, but that’s another book selling scam for sure.

    1. My comment was supposed to read: “hoists towel over head and waves about obnoxiously,” but apparently enclosing your text in brackets makes it disappear.

      le sigh…

  4. “on a pig’s snout they I find”

    What does that even mean? This is deviation from the English language on a whole new scale.

    I was quite surprised when I got the bottom and saw it was written by a man. For some reason I was expecting it to be by a woman.

    I have my towel.

    1. The writer used the wrong pronoun; it should be ‘them’ and not ‘they’. Unfortunately for the reading public, that is the least of the sample’s problems. In no way should this be called a poem.

    2. I thought that maybe it was a typo and was supposed to be “thee”, not “they” [sic].

      If “they” [sic] was meant, it may refer back to “pressure” and “force”… that’s my best guess.

    1. No one really knows what it’s about. I don’t, because I couldn’t finish reading it. I know young children who can write poetry. This ain’t it.

  5. Remember, the worst poet in the universe — even worse than the Vogons — was a woman from Earth.

    I think she’s been supplanted… 😈

    1. I think Mr. Handley may even have surpassed the great William McGonagall’s towering achievements.

  6. This was the most romantic poem I have ever read; it has intrinsic consideration that seems to speak just to me in my wallowing. It makes me so proud to be a crown on the snout of my *sanctified* swine. I Cor. 7:14. You know, while God works even this kind of marriage into His good plans for me and for His glory. Oh wait… This poem can’t handle reality. On top of it being bewildering and misusing scripture on multiple levels, no surprise really.

    1. A sanctified swine, that actually comes off as rather sweet. πŸ˜€
      And now I’m thinking Flanders & Swann’s “Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud,” as the elegant swine dance with the lovely hippos… πŸ™‚

  7. Come all, come and see
    some rather awful poetry
    Something that I think was about
    metal in a husband’s snout
    It may be too advanced for me
    I didn’t quite get it – Gee!
    But what I wonder most
    is why it was published, not lost
    as it ought to have been
    never to be seen
    ever, ever again
    ’cause it drives me insane!
    (Will go and find some soap for eyes,
    as I now say my good-byes)

    ^this is rather poor poetry too. However, mine was intentionally so… 😎

  8. “Young lady I say on your wedding day, which would you rather be found?”

    Just AS I am, thank you!! If it’s good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for some man lucky enough to GET TO marry me. πŸ™„ :mrgreen: πŸ˜›

    1. Amen to this! I’m finally to the place where I’m waiting for one to marry ME, not family connections, church status, or some dream. We’ll see how that goes.

  9. Only the 3rd worst!?!? I would have expected that this would at least be comparable to the Azgoths of Kria. (There, took your challenge and raised, having a copy of the book with DON’T PANIC on the cover).

  10. On another note, I don’t think I have a good understanding of poetry – I’m not entirely sure what makes this poem as horrible as everyone thinks it is.

    1. 1. Couldn’t be bothered to have someone else check the spelling and punctuation. Yes, the transcription has more errors than the original, but the original has plenty of errors already! Some poets can mess around with spelling and punctuation to make a point. This is just lazy.

      2. Forces the poem into the chosen rhyme scheme and meter by mangling sentences–“On a pig’s snout they (sic) I find.”

      3. The meter is bad anyway. See especially verse 2.

      4. Creepy, nasty subject matter. The gist is that the “young lady” must marry the man “God chose,” which as we know here can be anything from “somebody from our church, and there better not be any gossip about him” to “full-on modern courtship, and basically once the boy or man has picked you out, you’re on the marriage assembly line unless he puts himself completely beyond the pale by not treating your father like God.” If she doesn’t submit to someone else’s choice of a husband for her, she is “without discretion” and will end up married to a pig of a man. The poem uses scare tactics to frighten “young ladies” into toeing the line.

      5. The usual lousy exegesis. The point of the first quote is that physical beauty cannot hide an ugly nature. The point of the second quote is that the conduct of a woman to whom he is already married can affect a man’s social standing and his feelings of well being. Neither quote has anything to do with God rewarding or punishing “young ladies” based on whether they obey their parents’ (and sometimes pastors’) decrees about who they can marry.

      1. Thank you for #5! I mentioned the terrible exegesis in reply to a different comment yesterday. I wasn’t sure if I was the only one who noticed or if it was so common, everyone just breezed by it as par for the course when dealing with fundamentalism. The terrible exegesis is what drives me the most crazy about fundamentalists. It’s where all their power over people comes from.

        1. It’s sad that some people apparently think that something is Biblical just because it quotes the Bible instead of realizing that one needs to rightly divide the Word of Truth.

        2. I have an essay up at Why Not Train a Child? about the Vision Forum’s declarations regarding homeschooling. No surprise, the passage they cite about “each generation perfecting the next,” or however they phrase their claim to spiritual eugenics, turns out to be a diatribe against backsliding generations that have fallen since God let them to the land of Israel. Another passage cited piecemeal turns out to be a liturgy of repentance for sin if you read the whole thing.

          Takeaway: If somebody throws a Bible verse at you to prove their point, read that verse and the entire section in which that verse appears. Fundamentalists seem to be unaware that versification was added to the Bible centuries after it was written, purely as a navigational aid. The verse number does not disconnect the thoughts expressed in that verse from the thoughts in the preceding and succeeding verses.

  11. That rhyming essay (not going to call it a poem) mangles those verses beyond all recognition. In both verses the character of the woman is described. In the essay the character of the woman does not matter. The only thing that matters is whether or not her husband is God’s Special Choiceβ„’ (sounds like a store brand of cat food) for her.

    SFL- believing in a magical destiny.

  12. I had already wrapped my towel around my head to hide before I read the hover text. I thought maybe the Vogons had been joined by Traal natives.

    I read the poem again, assuming I had misunderstood. How even a Fundy Chauvinist could interpret theses passages in this manner is beyond me. I did notice, though, the metaphysical imagery was effective.

  13. I am now going to wrap my towel around my head to avoid looking at the “poem” any more.

  14. OMG, I assume VOGONS write better crap than this. WTF is wrong with this dude that thinks he can tell women what the right choice for them is. Thanks for the reminder of what misogyny looks & feels like.

  15. Oh, what a lovely example of Blue Denim and Lace-style poetry written from the heart of a man who cares about women everywhere. Read along with me as he reaches into the depths of his soul and pulls out a tribute to women everywhere coupling it with a subtle warning of the consequences of uncouth behavior that resuts from ungodly living.
    I used to have several books of poems similar to this, written by “Mah PREACHER” (Jack Hyles) but sadly they are all nothing but ashes now. (sigh) Oh and my towel waves proudly.

    1. I can’t remember where, but I think I kept Blue Denim and Lace and his poetry book to inflict on people on special occasions. Maybe I put them in the humor section of our library.
      Pretty much all of his other books seem to have disappeared. When I read this poem, Hyle’s poetry came to mind, and I never went to HAC.

    2. I still have my copy of Blue Denim and Lace as well, and this crap looks exactly like it belongs there. Reading through the first few lines, I was wondering if it was a Jack Hyles poem. It also reminds me of Far Above Rubies.

      It makes me sick to think that as a teenager what I wanted most in this world was for someone to quote Proverbs 31 spontaneously when my engagement would be announced. Now I’m glad that I know there is more to life than that, but things like this make me twitch with remembrance and wonder what God will take from me now that I’ve left Fundydom (and Christianity, but that’s another story).

  16. So many things to dislike about this poem! What to pick? What to pick?

    OK – one BIG thing is the horrible theology that says if you just marry the “right” guy, your marriage will be blessed instead of a mess. So if a marriage faces trouble, should the wife then assume that her husband is a swine whom she shouldn’t have married? Or should she realize that we are sinful people in a broken world and that suffering comes to all?

    1. Well, the author is divorced, so I think it’s safe to say he’s either a swine or his wife messed up big time. Probably both.

  17. I am a bit confused. Does this mean I should get a nose ring? Or live in a wallow?

    I get the feeling that this poem is insulting to both men and women but I am not sure I understand it. I was born lacking the part of the brain that appreciates poetry but even I can tell that this is bad.

  18. Did anyone else notice that each stanza reads like a limerick? That’s what turned me off the most.

  19. Here I sit brokenhearted πŸ˜‰
    This poem got confusing as soon as it started
    It has crowns, verses and swine
    and some awful approximate rhymes πŸ˜‰

    Women should feel conviction is what its about
    But in my head there lingers a doubt
    Is she really a swine, marrying a Mog porcine?
    If so, would this not be trying to guilt a gilt?

    The author does the undoable
    and accomplishes the unbelievable
    It makes me want to shout Poe!
    How else could he simultaneously suck and blow?

    ^That is my bad poetry contribution for the day.

    (an unbred female pig is called a gilt. I grew up on a farm)

    1. Nice! I first read it as “MOG porcupine” instead of porcine – very good use of multiple pig references without incessant repetition. πŸ˜€

  20. “And on a pig’s snout them I find!”

    Fundy Poems: Full of Yoda-speak, they are.
    Watched too much Star Wars, they must have?

    1. That’s way the original Greek reads. Check out Young’s literal translation to see what I’m talking about. Perhaps it’s some sort of super fundy who feels that if you don’t speak like the bible it’s a sin.

  21. A jewel or a crown? Neither one sounds bad. The point isn’t that being a jewel is bad but where that jewel is PLACED. The oft repeated last line does NOT reflect that.

    And the mixed metaphors are ridiculous. Hogs don’t try to convince lovely young women to marry them.

    Anyhow, I know of at least a couple young women who THOUGHT they married God’s choice – a pastor from HAC – who ended up in a terrible mess with their husbands convicted of sexual contact with minors and in jail. Now THAT’S wallowing in filth.

    1. where it’s placed…hmm, maybe he SUPPOSED that he was some sort of author? (making him: suppository)

  22. THIS is what drives me crazy about the Fundy church. How can so many people who are “normal” in so many other respects, be perfectly happy condemning half of the Human Race to second class status?

    Here I am, working on LMPS*, a Pro-immigrant campaign, which would help maybe 14 million individuals in this country, while the sad fact is staring me in the face: How can we talk about human rights to people who have no problem paying women less, restricting their career choices and worse, glorifying the objectification of women.

    *LMPS: “Let My People Stay”

  23. Waving my towel and LMAO at the mangled “poetry” through tears of frustration that such an attitude continues to exist.

  24. Ugh. Stuff like this has been used for years and years to “put us in our place” as women. I am neither a jewel in a pig’s snout nor a crown on any man’s head. I am my own person, on my own merit (or arguably through God’s merit since I am made in His image after all), regardless of marital status. And it’s insulting and wrong to imply that the only way to end up in a bad marriage is to “compromise” on the man you marry. Also insulting that my “reward” for choosing well is to be nothing more than an adornment on the head of a man. Dehumanizing all around, and shaming to boot.

    1. Well, the Scripture says that a virtuous woman (i.e., wife) is a crown to her husband, as referenced before the poem.

      Same for the illustration of a beautiful woman that has no discretion; it’s like a gold jewel in a pig’s snout… probably analogous to our “lipstick on a pig” expression.

      1. I get both analogies. But I absolutely reject how fundamentalists try to use them to control and lessen women, as evidenced in this poem.

        1. I concur; women have different roles, Biblically, than men, but they should never be treated as possessions. Women shouldn’t be controlled anymore than men should be controlled: we should exercise self-control, and both men and women are under authority.

          I’m all for pointing out abuses and Bible-twisting in Fundamentalism, but I’m 100% for what the Scriptures teach.

    2. Whether a crown or a jewel (both of which are good and valuable things) they are not human. They are objects that are owned by people. That’s the kind of thing I resent. Women are human beings too, and approximately half of the population, not objects to be owned and used by some male. πŸ‘Ώ

      1. Exactly! Just because I lack the important parts to “have a good idea” as we say in my family (my dad will only listen to ideas from other men) does not mean I am not human or that my only purpose in life is to be a doormat for a man. This attitude that I only existed to boost my future husband’s ministry drove me crazy in Bible college. It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut in the Christian Womanhood classes that spouted these ideas. The fact that their is now a poem to add fuel to the fire is ridiculous!
        And since I am ranting, it drives me crazy to be told, loudly and repeatedly from the pulpit, that Man was made in the image of God and woman was made in the image of man – that just doesn’t ring properly with me.
        Okay, done ranting – thanks!

        1. Altogether now… (loudly and with feeling) TO BE USED OF GOD, TO SING, TO SPEAK, TO PRAY…. TO Be USED OF GOD, To SHOW SOMEONE THE WAY… I LONG, so MUCH… To feel the TOUCH… Of His Con-Sum-Ing FIREEEEEEE… To BE USED OF GOD….





          (I just gave myself Marlene Evans flashbacks) πŸ˜†

        2. Your father would actually say that women lack the important parts to have a good idea? Does he mean men think with their… (fill in the blank)? That’s how a lot of men think! πŸ‘Ώ

          Though I never went to Fundy college I heard a lot of the claptrap coming out of there. One lady missionary (I hate the term missionary wife, she is a missionary every bit as much as he is) said her husband would receive the call and she would follow him. As if God can’t speak to BOTH of them regarding their field. Another missionary lady told me she and her husband BOTH felt led to Central America but they were unsure of which country so they prayed separately for a month for God to tell them which country. At the end of that month of course God had told them each the same country. So God is capable of speaking to women! πŸ˜†

          And one more thing that has always irked me and irked me til I can’t stand it, is the whole idiot custom of women being known by husband’s full name with only a Mrs. in front of it. It’s one thing to take his last name, I did that and have no problem with it. But I have my own first name thank you very much. 😯

          I know I would never have been able to sit through a Christian womanhood class without a barf bag, and more than likely in 5 minutes I’d be late for the door. πŸ˜₯

        3. It irritates me when I hear men who don’t think women have good ideas. I value my wife’s ideas. Just because women have a different role does not mean that they cannot have good ideas.

          There is a time for discussion, when I earnestly want input. Once the decision is made, I don’t want to constantly revisit it – it’s time to move forward, and in this, I earnestly want support.

        4. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing the first time I heard someone say that only MEN were made in God’s image but women were made in man’s image.

          I heartily and most totally reject that. I believe humans were made in God’s image, male and female both.

        5. Genesis 1:27
          So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

        6. Woman was made in man’s image? All you have to do is read Genesis to know that’s a lie. Genesis 1:26-27 (my emphasis of course).

          Then God said, β€œLet Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let THEM rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created THEM.”

          Clearly ‘man’ is meant to reference ‘mankind’ twice in this passage. It clearly says that THEY are created in God’s image. Where would someone who teaches the bible get the gall to say otherwise?

  25. It’s bad enough that the poetry is enough to make one barf, but note that it’s been printed so that it’s suitable for framing!!

    Yeah, like any right-thinking Christian woman is gonna want THAT hanging in her bedroom.

  26. I especially hated:
    “Will your sweet valentine be an old nasty swine
    as you adorn the tip of his snout?
    to live in his wallow, will be a hard pill to swallow
    But once married there’s no way out!”

    This is a message fundies rail to such extremes. This is why women in fundy churches who’s husbands are verbally, physically & emotionally abusive feel like they can’t reach out to anyone for help or leave the abuser. Even when the husbands cheat (and in fundy land it’s often with the piano player, secretary or a minor)and they have biblical grounds to divorce, they don’t. Because once you’re married- “there’s no way out!” What a curse. A terrible awful curse and a condemning lie to those “stuck”.

    1. My heart breaks for the many many unhappy women stuck in the family of an abusive Fundy household. In all the churches I have been in, the wives of the pastors were the most to be pitied.

  27. Actually I quite liked it. I thought that some of the metaphysical imagery was really particularly effective. Oh, and interesting rhythmic devices too which seemed to counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor of the humanity of the poet’s compassionate soul.

    Too bad I had to gnaw my own leg off to survive the experience.

    1. Too bad you also had to gnaw off your honour and your artistic judgment.

      Excellent HHGttG references, BTW.

    2. This sounds like something Rudyard Kipling might have written had he been a Fundamentalist with a poor grasp of theology and also an atrociously bad writer. Joking aside, isn’t the submission/publication ratio for the International Society of Poets somewhere pretty close to 1:1?

  28. My God, that drivel is putrid! The only thing that could save it, maybe, would be if Peter Schickele set it to music under his “P.D.Q. Bach” alias. Even then, I think it would stink.

  29. Notice how the man is either a pig or virtuous, but it’s up to the woman to make sure he’s not a pig. Like you can always tell before you get married! And, of course, if the virtuous seeming one turns out to be a real oinker, well, the woman must have driven him that way. Because, we know that pigs have signs on them that they are pigs, signs that a woman can spot a mile off. If they are lacking those signs when they get married, but then show themselves to be pigs after marriage, it couldn’t have been the man’s fault. Oh, no, once a woman enters the picture it’s always te woman’s fault no matter what! 😑

  30. Are you ready for a ‘brush with greatness’ moment?

    I know David Handley. I have known him for about 16 years. He was an evangelist, but I don’t think he is doing that anymore. But in 2002 he was. He recited this during a revival.
    It may be bad poetry, but the analogies are keeping with the scripture, whether the allusions to it are fitting, you can judge that.
    David was not a typical fundy preacher, in that he didn’t scream and yell, etc. However, he had fundy standards to which he could be downright rude to lost folks.
    The first sermon I ever heard him preach was before he got married and was on Dating out of the book of Judges. He used Samson as the example of why dating was wrong.

    Anyway, this is the second time Darrell has posted something from someone I know. It’s a small fundy world after all.(The first one was Stinnett Ballew)

    Grace and peace.

    1. I totally disagree. The exegesis of Proverbs 11:22 is completely wrong. The ‘swine’ being referenced has nothing to do with a man as the poem would suggest. What the Proverb is saying is that a beautiful women without any brains/ character is like putting jewelry on a gross repugnant animal. In other words, if you’re a hottie without brains that has loose morals, your beauty is worthless; you’re still disgusting.

      You’ll find other verses out there that refer to the opposite; that character is what makes a women beautiful, but I digress.

      1. There is nothing for you to disagree with me about. Don’t be so anti fundy that you insist on disagreeing so you can disagree.
        I didn’t say exegesis. I said ‘analogies. There is a difference. And i also said that if his allusions are correct you can judge. Great you did. But you have nothing to disagree with me about.


  31. He is not an evangelist anymore, as he is divorced. I went to school with him, and we exchanged letters during the summer of 1994. He was interested in me, but the faculty at our college did not feel that I was “spiritual” enough for him. The girl he married worked at Hephzibah House before they got married. Apparently she was “spiritual” enough then; but since they are now divorced, I’m wondering if she was the jewel or he was the Swine. Either way, I think I dodged a bullet.
    PS This “poem” was posted on his FB page; a fellow former student from our college said that he will be printing this and posting it on his daughter’s wall.

    1. Though I would normally have some strong words for colleges thinking they get to decide who is “spiritual” enough to marry who (or who should marry who at all), I think in this case they were unintentionally the voice of God…

  32. The fundy view of women in marriage seems to be that the women are a dime a dozen, so any “properly” submissive one will do. But the woman should be waiting for “God’s Perfect Choice” for her. The other problem is the view that the burden of “worthiness” in marriage falls only on her. The man is just fine the way he is, but she needs to be perfect. Hence poems like this…

    Not surprised that this poem was written by a man. I feel bad for his wife if he is married. πŸ™„

    1. Or if she’s not perfect she ought to marry him and adapt herself to him, find out what his needs and desires are and work toward changing herself to meet his needs. Her needs are unimportant. If he fails to meet her needs she ought to subjugate her needs and focus only on his needs. While it’s a good thing to focus on the other person it needs to be mutual. If one does all the giving while the other does all the taking the one doing the giving is going to become bitter and resentful no matter how much they try not to be or get preached to that this is how it’s supposed to be. Eventually they will say enough is enough and want out. πŸ™

      1. Yeah, most fundies tend to forget that the man has some commands from scripture too. You know small things like “husbands love your wives and Christ loves the church.” Of course,if you think God is a jerk who shouts commands from heaven who demands perfection before He gives acceptance and love, I guess this could turn you into one terrible husband. Of course there’s the verse that commands us to “live with your wives in an understanding way.”

        However, who has time to understand their wife? We’ve got soul winning, bus ministry, church 3 times a week, and other ministries I have to serve in so that God will accept me. I have to set aside the command of God for the tradition of men so that God will be please with me. Hmm that sounds like something else I’ve read before….

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