WA’s worst poet?

He was a poet and he did not rhyme

He was a poet and he did not rhyme

Today we want to celebrate one candidate for the position of Western Australia’s worst ever poet. Step forward Rhys J. Edmunds of Northam. In the 1910s Edmunds was attached to the Northam Courier, which was one of the few places brave enough to publish him.

When a Sunday Times reviewer described Rhys’ sentimental verses as “horrible”, the great poet himself stepped up with a riposte entitled “They call me poet”. We cannot bear to reprint the whole thing here, so will leave you with just the final four lines:

Had I the tongue to reach the heart,

This is the message I would impart:

“Honor the Poet, for it is he

Who defends us all i’ God’s imagery.”

During World War I, it is said Edmunds collaborated with a poet from the Lands Office to produce some jingoistic verse to be set to music for the use of local cadets. It is not clear if this project was ever finished.

To be fair, while he had some shortcomings in the poetic departments, Rhys worked valiantly to improve the surroundings of Northam, and after the weir was built did a lot of work for the local birdlife.

So Rhys J. Edmunds of Northam, Dodgy Perth salutes you and your efforts to improve the intellectual life and wildlife of your home town.

For the love of Money

Persian farmerToday’s story concerns Northam resident, Abdallah Mahomet, who was living there in 1849. Abdallah was a Persian (modern day Iranian), who worked as a farm labourer.

But poor Abdallah never had any luck.

He started saving in 1841, only to have all his possessions (and £27 in cash) destroyed in a fire in 1845. A man of stoic character, he resolved to start again.

He built up a small farm, but in 1847 his three cows and heifer calf were stolen.

Did Abdallah give up? No! He cheerily said to himself “He who has not got cannot lose”, and started over once again.

But 1849 turned out to be a particularly bad year. Abdallah was slandered by a man called Hookham John, who claimed that Mr Mahomet was bankrupt and owed him money. The legal fees to set the record straight cost him a fortune.

And now comes the truly pathetic part. A woman (whom he bitterly refers to by the name of ‘Money’) came to his home and promised to be his wife.

Falling instantly in love, Abdallah bought her dresses, shawls, silk handkerchiefs, and the like.

But ‘Money’ was not faithful. Here we’ll let Abdallah tell his own story:

‘Money’ is flashing about with my property, bought with my money, on condition that she became my wife and made me a comfortable home. ‘Money’ has run away with my property, even to my very blankets!

I have spent, besides £29 on other goods, fruits, wines, etc., which she ought to return as they do not belong to her.

I reckon my loss altogether at £74, all through you, which is a great loss for a labouring man, and all is lost by cheating and roguery.

Not only that, but by spending so much time chasing after the floozy, Abdallah lost his job on the farm at Northam.

“I have lost 1849,” he sobbed. “I hope I shall not lose 1850.”

Abdallah relocated to Geraldton, where he ran a small market garden and where he drank himself to death in 1880.

I will allow the reader to draw their own moral from this sad tale. Although becoming disillusioned with love forever would be the most reasonable response.