‘Roses are red etc…’

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‘I’d better get the words in this story right!’

During 23 years with the BBC, and a 40 year journalistic career (when he was trained to use clear and simple language, avoiding jargon), our Editor, Welshman Phil Parry always chose words carefully, but today the internet has prompted an explosion in BAD verse, notably poetry, with China marking a notorious 25 year old event with the words ‘The blood of the martyrs will not be shed in vain!’.


Sometimes things are so bad they are laughable.

Sometimes going on the internet makes a monkey of you

So it is with bad so-called poetry, and unfortunately we are seeing an explosion in it because of the internet.

Before the advent of social media, it was relatively difficult for up and coming poets to access publishers and gain success.

Now, thousands of people share their work on TikTok under #PoetryCommunity and #PoetryIsNotDead. Suddenly anyone can post their creations online and call themselves a poet.

We see Instagram posts and framed Etsy prints – they’re even in bank commercials and Coke ads..

Posted on(and there’s a degree of accuracy here), was the following: “Roses are red, violets are blue, i want to die”

Of course bad poetry is nothing new with books being written about it, but there seems to be ever more of this around today in the great online age.

In years gone by we’ve had Marie Prys pondering the deep mysteries of a dog park, Jim Gullo, sniffing feet while ruminating on the smell of “Earth Mother Bisquick”.

William Wordsworth may well put his head in his hands

There has been: “100% certified lonesome and there is no remedy; my weepful-juices are sloshing off my cheeks”, and a ‘poet’ noted that she could “smell the inside of her head”, then gazed into the bleary eyes of her lover, only to find them “blue. Blue as toilet bowl cleaner”.

We have been offered William Wordsworth’sSpade! with which Wilkinson hath tilled his lands”; Abraham Cowley’s couplet “Backward the sun, an unknown motion, went; / The stars gazed on, and wondered what he meant’; Leigh Hunt’sThe two divinest things that man has got, / A lovely woman in a rural spot”; and Henry Vaughan’s “How brave a prospect is a bright backside!”.

“America’s inhumane act”

But surely topping them all is China’s execrable ‘poem’ marking the anniversary of the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, for which the USA has repeatedly apologised after what they say was a mistake, and paid large amounts in compensation.

They call it “America’s inhumane act” and the verse about the bombing concludes with the words: “Justice will surely overcome evil!/The blood of the martyrs will not be shed in vain!/Rest in peace, dear ones./We will never forget”.

Awful writing is never forgotten

We will never forget either the awful ‘poems’ that have been written…


Some of the stories Phil has covered when words were always chosen with care, as he was gripped by the rare neurological condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP)have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order it now!


Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.

Tomorrow – how the appearance of a senior business executive at the legal inquiry into the appalling Post Office (PO) scandal has once again thrown the spotlight on the central role of Wales in the huge controversy.