Cumberland Clark (1862-1941), the ‘Bard of Bournemouth’, is reckoned by many to be England’s worst poet.
It bucks you up, and fills you out, if
Thin as macaroni.’
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.’
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.’
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.’
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)