Every year I honor December 28 because a terrible disaster on this day — the collapse of the Tay Bridge in Scotland in 1879 — led to a terrible disaster of an entirely different sort. I am speaking, of course, of the infamous poem by William McGonagall.
The Tay Bridge Disaster is to 19th century poetry what The Room is to modern cinema. McGonagall’s commemorative poem is so jaw droppingly inept that it is nearly transcendent.
Here is a link to the poem in its entirety. If you would like just a taste, I quote below the last few lines of this immortal misfire, which admittedly concludes with some very sensible advice:
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.