PHOTO HUNT FOLLOWS
When it comes to bad poetry, Willam Topaz McGonagall is arguably the king. However it does not mean that he is not without challengers. One of the prime contenders must be James McIntyre.
Born in Forres, Scotland in 1828 McIntyre moved to Canada at the age of 14, settling first in St Catherines and later Ingersoll, Ontario. Ingersoll which was then the heart of the Canadian dairy country. It was Ingersoll's major industry that inspired McIntyre to write poetry, including this masterpiece which was written to celebrate a 7,000lb cheese produced 1866:
ODE ON THE MAMMOTH CHEESE
We have seen the Queen of cheese,
Laying quietly at your ease,
Gently fanned by evening breeze --
Thy fair form no flies dare seize.
All gaily dressed soon you'll go
To the great Provincial Show,
To be admired by many a beau
In the city of Toronto.
Cows numerous as a swarm of bees --
Or as the leaves upon the trees --
It did require to make thee please,
And stand unrivalled Queen of Cheese.
May you not receive a scar as
We have heard that Mr. Harris
Intends to send you off as far as
The great World's show at Paris.
Of the youth -- beware of these --
For some of them might rudely squeeze
And bite your cheek; then songs or glees
We could not sing o' Queen of Cheese.
We'rt thou suspended from baloon,
You'd cast a shade, even at noon;
Folks would think it was the moon
About to fall and crush them soon
McIntyre was a well loved member of the Ingersoll community. His poetry continues to be celebrated to this day in the form of an annnual poetry contest. It is not too late to submit entries for the 2008 contest if you feel so inspired. The closing date is 9 October.