Skip to main content

Cumberland Clark - 'England's Worst Poet!'

 

Cumberland Clark (1862-1941), the ‘Bard of Bournemouth’, is reckoned by many to be England’s worst poet.

‘The Bournemouth air is toney
It bucks you up, and fills you out, if
Thin as macaroni.’

‘To learn about the Milk Supply, I nosed about with stealth.
Reports I found, were published by the Officer of Health.
The cowsheds and the dairies are inspected, you may read
And authorities assert that they are very fine indeed.’

‘That beautiful creature called Kate
I met near Kensington Gate.
She’d a costume like Eve’s
Minus stockings and sleeves
But otherwise quite up to date.’

‘If you go to the Boscombe Arcade
No excitement you’ll meet I’m afraid.
You won’t find the place is a tax on your strength
Four hundred and forty three feet is its length.
You walk to and fro with a dignified air:
Then you walk fro and to, or you sit on a chair;
And there isn’t much else you can do when you’re there.’

‘Let me say a few words on the Square
From which you can get anywhere.
A well-designed centre, there isn’t a doubt
With features that fascinate all round about.
The sea trips from Bournemouth are many
Don’t say you haven’t tried any.
They’re cheap and enjoyable, when you’re in fettle
And doubtless they put a man on his mettle.’

‘The Canford Cliffs Hotel will do you very well
I’ve met girls when I’ve stayed there,
And in love I always fell.
At the Branksome Tower a minx
Once took me on the links.
She played with me, and holed in three,
And let me in for drinks.’

‘It’s built in various sections,
Sea views in two directions.
As for social meeting.
For drinking or for eating.
Tea rooms and beauteous balconies
Beset with flowers and shrub.
Where roughly fifteen hundred people
All can take their “grub”.’
(An Ode to Bournemouth Pavilion)

‘Let the bombs bounce round about us
And shells come whizzing by.
Down in our Air Raid shelter
We’ll be cosy, you and I.’

Sadly, this last poem was written just before Cumberland Clark and his housekeeper were killed in an air raid on Bournemouth on 10th April 1941. Multi-talented Cumberland Clark, the magnificently awful ‘Bard of Bournemouth’ also wrote in 1924 the words to the smash-hit song, Ogo Pogo!

(Illustration: Cumberland Clark)


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Tarrant Rushton's Nuclear Secret

Tarrant Rushton was a large RAF base used for glider operations during World War II. It was then taken over by Flight Refuelling for the conversion of aircraft for the development of aircraft in-flight refuelling. However, between 1958 & 1965, the Tarrant Rushton airfield had a much more secretive and less publicised role. This was in support of the nation’s nuclear bomber deterrent, as Tarrant Rushton airfield became a QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) dispersal unit.   During 1958, contractors Costain reinforced the main runway and carried out other work to ensure the giant bomber aircraft could be accommodated. At times just a few miles from Blandford, there would have been up to four RAF Vickers Valiant bombers at Tarrant Rushton ready to become airborne in minutes charged with nuclear weapons. The bombers were from 148 Squadron at RAF Marham in Norfolk. As there was no suitable accommodation at the airfield, an old US Air Force Hospital building at Martin was used. At the time, the

Shapwick Sea Monster

On a Tuesday in October 1706, a travelling Poole fishmonger was wheeling his cart on the outskirts of the village of Shapwick. Unknown to him, a large crab fell from his barrow. This was to cause panic and alarm among the Shapwick villagers. Living inland, and perhaps in the 18 th century not having travelled beyond Blandford, the Shapwick villagers had never before seen a crab. Trudging home and exhausted by his day’s labour, a Shapwick farm worker discovered this crawling creature by stepping on it. So strange was its appearance, he believed it was the devil himself. Running on to the village, he told everyone excitingly of his horrid find. Fearing it was the work of the devil, the villagers armed themselves with pitchforks, sticks and stones. Knowing not what to do, they decided to consult the shepherd Rowe considered by many to be the local wise man. Sadly, the aging oracle was now past his prime and for the last six years had been confined to his bed. The old man was as infirm as

Bravest Village Controversy

A Dorset village was once recognised as the bravest in England. That village was Shillingstone in North Dorset. After the outbreak of World War I, the newspaper the Weekly Dispatch inaugurated a competition for the village that sent, in the first six months of the war, the highest percentage of its population into the British Services. According to local newspaper, the Western Gazette Shillingstone sent 90 men out of a total population of 565. (Western Gazette Friday 26 th September 1919) Across the country,  365 other villages sent in their returns. However, the competition would not prove to be short of controversy. The award was made to Knowlton in Kent which with 39 inhabitants and six houses had sent 11 men. However, the Rector of Shillingstone, Dr Cooke protested that Knowlton was too small to be a village and in fact was a hamlet. The matter was referred to the Attorney General, Sir Frederick Smith who held that the original decision should stand as no minimum population ha