The Worst Poem in the History of the World Ever Ever Ever…for Jilanne!

A long time ago, some of you may vaguely recall we played the Five Truths and One Lie game. As with the previous time I did this, I offered a prize of a poem written and read out by me for the winner. Boy did I end up regretting that. After the deadline passed, I randomly drew one of the names from those who guessed correctly, and the winner was…wait for it…wait for it…oh right, I’ve already told you in the title, Jilanne Hoffman! Congrats Jilanne!

And that’s when the trouble started…

I felt totally uninspired to write any kind of poem. That’s ok, I thought, I’ll leave it for a bit and come back to it. So I left it for a bit, came back, still no inspiration. I wrote a blog post about something else instead. As the weeks passed, I kept thinking about it and worrying about it, I kept telling myself to stop being silly, I’m not a poet, I’ve never claimed to be, nobody is expecting some incredible work of genius poetry. Just do SOMETHING Vanessa!

But the more time passed, the more I felt that the poem had to be really good to justify taking so long, and I therefore felt more and more stifled in my ability to write it. I put up two more blog posts, I apologised for not having done the poem yet. I stressed some more about it.

A few weeks ago I decided it was getting embarrassing, I couldn’t write any more blog posts until I did the poem one, and I didn’t, and weeks passed, and I didn’t do any blog posts. I barely showed my face around anyone else’s blogs for fear of being asked about the winner’s poem. And then this past weekend, it suddenly struck me – nobody cares! I was getting myself into a state over something that was just meant to be a bit of trivial fun. Anybody who may have cared a bit at first, has long since moved on.

So I forced myself to just throw something down on paper yesterday (or actually on screen), thrust my phone at Neil, and said…

“Neil, video me now, we’re doing this in one take, it’s terrible, but let’s just do it!”

“Sure. Is that what you’re wearing?” (For the record, men, nothing good ever came from that question).

“Yes, I’m wearing my squirrel onesie, ok? I will add a string of daisies round my head to make you happy though. Is that better? Does that make you happy?!”

“Um…yes…you look er…great Vanessa…I’m just wondering though, and this is only a suggestion, but-“


And he did. It’s not pretty, it’s not funny, it’s not clever, but it is finished!

Sorry Jilanne to have given you such a lousy prize, and for it to have taken so long. Now can we all just move on and pretend this never happened?

Oh you might still want to know which one was the lie. This one was the lie:

2. When I was about 22/23 I went out shopping with my slippers on, and didn’t notice until I was in the shopping mall, and so quickly popped into a shoe shop to buy an emergency pair. I spent rather too long browsing, and after a while was approached by two policemen who spoke to me in kind tones, smiling and glancing at my slippers, telling me it was time to go back to the centre. I wasn’t quite sure what centre they were talking about, but I eventually managed to persuade them that I didn’t need to go back to any centre, and had simply made a footwear error!LIE!

If you want a reminder of what the other, true ones, were then you’ll have to go back to the original post.

Do you write poetry? Have you ever got yourself into a disproportionate state over something silly? Have you ever thought that a squirrel onesie and a daisy headband was a good fashion choice?


43 responses to “The Worst Poem in the History of the World Ever Ever Ever…for Jilanne!

  1. awesome, as they say! … in future I’ll keep my suggestions to myself!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. NOT first. Almost.

    You totally sold it! Proof positive it’s all in the delivery. I hope all the angst this caused doesn’t mean you’ll never run another contest again. It was fun to do. Don’t get all hung-up on the award. And you’re wrong about us not caring. We care plenty but felt if we said something it would cause an anxiety attack and we’d never want to do that to someone we like so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re in trouble once the Allegra guy sees this–he surely be mirthful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You can make anything sound wonderful with your cute accent and all. I don’t know how your fellow Englishmen feel, but as an American, you could just say “Gooseberry pie” over and over and it sounds so awesome. Great poem. You always make me laugh. And the daisy headband was a nice touch.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dinking a Bud afterward was sheer perfection.
    I used to get worked up too. Blogging four years ago is nothing like today. Now there’s so much out there. Everyone is distracted by the next shiney thing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Unfortunately – and it may just be my old computer – I couldn’t hear a word you said. However, I really enjoyed watching you and I thought the outfit was fetching! And it’s definitely true – poetry can’t be commanded – it has to be inspired. I’m having the same trouble with Bu’gan’zei’s poems in The Buried Ship at the End of the World. His poems in the earlier volumes came to me easily, but not this these latest ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes it was a bit quiet, so I’m not surprised if a few people couldn’t hear it properly, but I really wasn’t too worried about that, it’s hardly something I’m proud to have produced! Funny how sometimes the words come easily and other times it’s like pulling teeth.


  7. This is fantastic! So much fun to read about your angst (because we can all relate, not because we like to see you troubled!) and so much fun to watch the video. It would be wonderful if you made this a regular feature. Just what you wanted to hear, right? 😉

    Great fun, Vanessa!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love it. It was hilarious. I half expected at the very end for you to say something to Neil like, “Stop filming, already! How much of this beer do I have to drink at once?!” I love hearing your accent, and your poem was not horrible. It was terrific. Worth the wait, my dear British friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh, I got your last line: I do hope that poem doesn’t earn you invective.

    Love your squirrel jammies, by the way.


  10. You are too cute, and you made this into an excellent post about the vulnerabilities and self-doubts of us writers. And after all this, you created a great, fun poem with your signature humor. GOOD JOB!!
    So…when’s your next contest? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, it’s good to share our vulnerabilities and self-doubts isn’t it. Not sure about when the next contest will be, not for a while, I have a few posts lined up in my mind that I had ready to write AFTER the poem one. Thankfully I am now in that post-poem zone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Post-Poem Zone – sounds like ‘after the apocalypse.’ Giggle. You are a brave woman, indeed, and look how you gave me courage to follow your stead. Although, of course, I’d never have promised to write someone a POEM, oh nooooo, never. That would be too damn scary!!!


  11. You knocked it out of the park Vanessa. The delivery is graceful and sounds important. Fabulous job. All that angst for nothing! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I loved it Vanessa! I thought you were brilliant. Well except for one thing. It wasn’t about me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Vanessa, you are hilarious! What you needed was a little—ah—directive. 😀 What a wonderful poem! I am so excited to be the lucky winner!!! I never win anything, and now that I have, I can die in peace. Not that I’m planning to die anytime soon, mind you, but when I do I’ll have a poem that’s been written for me and that has made me happy. I don’t want to cause poem envy or any additional angst (knowing you’re not a poet), but you should take a look Robert Okaji’s (he is a poet) poem that he wrote based on a title I gave him for Tupelo Press’s 30/30 Project. He allowed me to post it on my blog:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, again, for such a funny poem!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I’m so pleased that you’re pleased! 🙂 I figured that even if you hated the poem, you would probably at least appreciate that one had been done for you! Thank you so much also for linking to that post and poem on your site, so beautiful. If anyone else is reading this comment who hasn’t read that post on Jilanne’s site, I urge you to do so!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Writing can be such a difficult experience, Vanessa, especially when there is pressure to “perform.” I think you have a marvelous sense of humor. And I always enjoy (and usually laugh out loud when reading) your posts.


  14. That was awesome, Vanessa, and well worth the wait! I’m also thrilled that I found the lie among your truths! 🙂


  15. Hello, I’m Huey Dewey from the law firm of Dewey, Cheetum and Howe, and I hereby give notice that Jilanne has retained us to represent her in her lawsuit against you for Delay of Poem Almost To the Point of Breach of Poetry.

    (ps – we all love the video!)


  16. Pingback: Do You Know The Man They Call Frank? | Vanessa-Jane Chapman

  17. Hi,

    I’ve found a nice book that makes interesting reading, please read it here

    See you around, CELIABOR10


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