Poem and painting authored by me; please don't use without my permission.
Comments appreciated. Criticism mostly useless, but if you're dying to say something, go ahead.
Douglas Adams; HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy
Vogon poetry is of course the third worst in the Universe.
The second worst is that of the Azagoths of Kria. During a recitation by their Poet Master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem "Ode To A Small Lump of Green Putty I Found In My Armpit One Midsummer Morning" four of his audience died of internal haemorrhaging, and the President of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos is reported to have been "disappointed" by the poem's reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his twelve-book epic entitled My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save life and civilization, leapt straight up through his neck and throttled his brain.
The very worst poetry of all perished along with its creator Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Greenbridge, Essex, England in the destruction of the planet Earth.
Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz smiled very slowly. This was done not so much for effect as because he was trying to remember the sequence of muscle movements. He had had a terribly therapeutic yell at his prisoners and was now feeling quite relaxed and ready for a little callousness.
The prisoners sat in Poetry Appreciation Chairs — strapped in. Vogons suffered no illusions as to the regard their works were generally held in. Their early attempts at composition had been part of bludgeoning insistence that they be accepted as a properly evolved and cultured race, but now the only thing that kept them going was sheer bloodymindedness.
The sweat stood out cold on Ford Prefect's brow, and slid round the electrodes strapped to his temples. These were attached to a battery of electronic equipment — imagery intensifiers, rhythmic modulators, alliterative residulators and simile dumpers — all designed to heighten the experience of the poem and make sure that not a single nuance of the poet's thought was lost.
Arthur Dent sat and quivered. He had no idea what he was in for, but he knew that he hadn't liked anything that had happened so far and didn't think things were likely to change.
The Vogon began to read — a fetid little passage of his own devising.
"Oh frettled gruntbuggly ..." he began. Spasms wracked Ford's body — this was worse than ever he'd been prepared for.
"... thy micturations are to me | As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee."
"Aaaaaaarggggghhhhhh!" went Ford Prefect, wrenching his head back as lumps of pain thumped through it. He could dimly see beside him Arthur lolling and rolling in his seat. He clenched his teeth.
"Groop I implore thee," continued the merciless Vogon, "my foonting turlingdromes."
His voice was rising to a horrible pitch of impassioned stridency. "And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles,| Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon, see if I don't!"
"Nnnnnnnnnnyyyyyyyuuuuuuurrrrrrrggggggghhhhh!" cried Ford Prefect and threw one final spasm as the electronic enhancement of the last line caught him full blast across the temples. He went limp.
"Now Earthlings ..." whirred the Vogon (he didn't know that Ford Prefect was in fact from a small planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse, and wouldn't have cared if he had) "I present you with a simple choice! Either die in the vacuum of space, or ..." he paused for melodramatic effect, "tell me how good you thought my poem was!"
He threw himself backwards into a huge leathery bat-shaped seat and watched them. He did the smile again.
Ford was rasping for breath. He rolled his dusty tongue round his parched mouth and moaned.
Arthur said brightly: "Actually I quite liked it."
Ford turned and gaped. Here was an approach that had quite simply not occurred to him.
The Vogon raised a surprised eyebrow that effectively obscured his nose and was therefore no bad thing.
"Oh good ..." he whirred, in considerable astonishment.
"Oh yes," said Arthur, "I thought that some of the metaphysical imagery was really particularly effective."
Ford continued to stare at him, slowly organizing his thoughts around this totally new concept. Were they really going to be able to bareface their way out of this?
"Yes, do continue ..." invited the Vogon.
"Oh ... and er ... interesting rhythmic devices too," continued Arthur, "which seemed to counterpoint the ... er ... er ..." He floundered.
Ford leaped to his rescue, hazarding "counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor of the ... er ..." He floundered too, but Arthur was ready again.
"... humanity of the ..."
"Vogonity," Ford hissed at him.
"Ah yes, Vogonity (sorry) of the poet's compassionate soul," Arthur felt he was on a home stretch now, "which contrives through the medium of the verse structure to sublimate this, transcend that, and come to terms with the fundamental dichotomies of the other," (he was reaching a triumphant crescendo ...) "and one is left with a profound and vivid insight into ... into ... er ..." (... which suddenly gave out on him.) Ford leaped in with the coup de gr@ce:
"Into whatever it was the poem was about!" he yelled. Out of the corner of his mouth: "Well done, Arthur, that was very good."
The Vogon perused them. For a moment his embittered racial soul had been touched, but he thought no — too little too late. His voice took on the quality of a cat snagging brushed nylon.
"So what you're saying is that I write poetry because underneath my mean callous heartless exterior I really just want to be loved," he said. He paused. "Is that right?"
Ford laughed a nervous laugh. "Well I mean yes," he said, "don't we all, deep down, you know ... er ..."
The Vogon stood up.
"No, well you're completely wrong," he said, "I just write poetry to throw my mean callous heartless exterior into sharp relief. I'm going to throw you off the ship anyway. Guard! Take the prisoners to number three airlock and throw them out!"