While sadly pondering Bend's economic troubles yesterday, as I often do, I hit upon an inspiration: What this town needs is a poet laureate.
The immediate source of the idea was a poem by William McGonagall that had been e-mailed to me. Some years ago I discovered the work of McGonagall, a Scot of the Victorian era who in his lifetime was widely considered The Worst Poet on Earth and is a leading contender for the title of Worst Poet of All Time. I was so impressed by McGonagall's remarkable abilities that I subscribed to a website that sends me one of his gems every week.
McGonagall lived near the city of Perth and wrote many odes in praise of it, such as the following, from last week's e-mail:
Of all the cities in Scotland, beautiful Perth for me, For it is the most elegant city that ever I did see, With its beautiful woodland scenery along the river Tay, Which would make the tourist's heart feel gay, While fishing for trout on a fine summer day.
There, the angler, if he likes to resort For a few day's fishing, can have excellent sport, And while he is fishing during the day, He will feel delighted with the scenery along the river Tay.
And the fish he catches will drive dull care away, And his toil will be rewarded for the fatigues of the day.
There's much more, but I think you get the general feel of it.
Now, over the years Bend has hired many talented advertising copy writers to persuade the world that our city is indeed a paradise for either the visitor (or "tourist," as McGonagall called him in his archaic language) or the would-be resident. But none of them, in my opinion, has been truly touched by the muse; none had what I'd consider anything even close to the real McGonagall flair.
So I thought maybe I'd have a go at it. After knocking back seven or eight shots of Scotch to get the poetic juices flowing, as it were, I churned out this:
Ah, fair city of Bend, wherethrough runs the sparkling river of Deschutes, and where the realtors and developers with the politicians are in cahoots, and the rainbow-hued trout they do sport and play, and also the sleek cougars may be seen at the end of each day, as they prowl the local bars in search of their prey!
Ah, fair city of Bend, situated on the verdant banks of the Deschutes, where often the fisherman does wade after putting on his hip boots, while the real estate scam artist in his elegant Mercedes Benz reclines, chatting on his cell phone to the next victim whom he shall rob blind!
Okay, it needs a little polishing, but I think it kind of captures the essence of Bend, don't you? So if City Hall can find a pittance in its budget to hire a poet laureate, I'm willing to work cheap. A pint of Scotch a day should cover it.