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My Writing Influence

Story ID:8514
Written by:John Ward (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Biography
Writers Conference:Russell County, Alabama Historical Markers
Location:London England
Year:1887
Person:Bulworth Camberpot-Smythe
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OurEcho Preface This post deals with a mature theme or contains explicit language. While the post is not extremely violent or pornographic, it does contain language or explore a subject matter that may offend some readers. If you do not wish to view posts that deal with mature themes, please exit this post.
My Writing Influence

My Writing Influence

My Writing Influence

My Writing Influence

My Writing Influence

Bulworth Chamberpot-Smythe was born at a very early age in Leamington Spa, England in January 1862. His birth was serendipitous, almost miraculous. His father: Lord Cheltenham Chamberpot-Smythe, peer of the realm in 19th Century England, suffered an unhappy marriage to Bulworth’s mother, Beatrice.

An exciting and promiscuous girl of nineteen when his Lordship married her, Beatrice Glumm had turned to religion after meeting charismatic Episcopalian Bishop Cyril Creeven at her wedding. She subsequently believed, with no small influence from Bishop Creeven, that all forms of sex were evil, with the single possible exception of manual stimulation through the curtain of a confessional.

On the single occasion Lord Cheltenham actually managed to mount his wife it was with considerable help from a date rape drug of the period called Gin. After a celebratory dinner party that evolved into a night of unbridled debauchery, Beatrice Glumm, now Lady Chamberpot-Smythe, drank enough gin to become paralytic. She fell to the floor unconscious - her nether regions raised and exposed. With his Lordship behind her screaming: “Damn the cavalry, I’m using cannon,” the couple conceived of a son, who would later grow up to be the Poet Laureate of New Guinea and an enormous influence on my personal writing life.

As a child, Bulworth Chamberpot-Smythe was unremarkable. His one passion seemed to be using stick-pins as armies which he marched around geographical maps he found in his father’s study. He was quite a demanding general, expecting his troops to be both loyal and indefatigable. On one occasion he force-marched a company of Hussar pins until their points were blunt. He took pains to paint each stick-pin in the colors of the various uniforms of the day, even painting the spy stick-pins, he sent into enemy camps, so that they could pass for enemy troops if they were not required to speak in the enemy’s language.

Bulworth was given the nick-name Bully by his only friend: Tarihageni Ben Chot, a one legged ex-Laskar off an Indian coal ship out of Neendakara. Although Bulworth loved his nick-name, Tarihageni Ben Chot actually meant it as an insult. Bully was quite a demanding and forceful friend. The one benefit of Bully’s friendship with Tarihageni Ben Chot was the fact that the latter introduced him to Indian poetry and the Kama Sutra neither of which Bulworth understood, as they were both written in Gujarati. However, his curiosity was piqued and he began to read the poetry of other countries. When he finally discovered that there were poems written in English by English poets, he was overjoyed and when Tarihageni Ben Chot died tragically in a freak snake-charming accident, Bulworth dedicated his first poem “Gone” to his late friend:

Gone by Bulworth Camberpot-Smythe
You are Gone.
Damn it!

Although no one at the funeral seemed to understand the profundity of emotion in this poem, Bulworth was not deterred. He started to write and offer poetry readings at every opportunity: weddings, feasts, religious holidays, funerals; most of which he had not been invited to attend.
Many of his poems survive to this day.

Even Hollywood used one of his poems in a film called: The Man with Two Brains. The poem is entitled “Oh Pointy Birds”

Oh pointy birds, oh pointy birds, oh pointy, pointy.
You fly above my head so high, anointy-nointy.

After his first visit to Brighton in the South of England, Bulworth was so impressed by the vastness of the sea he wrote the following poem:

The Sea by Bulworth Camberpot-Smythe
I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky
I left my socks and underpants there and I wonder if they’re dry.

At the time Chamberpot-Smythe was writing, England was going through its Industrial Revolution. Coal was the source of energy that made that revolution possible and coal was burned everywhere from factories to Steam Engines, to home hearths with the result that coal dust and soot formed a blanket over everything and everyone. Bulworth wrote the sadly compelling poem: “My Dog” in free verse at this time and managed to get it published by a local gambler who happened to be trying out some new printing equipment he had won from a Dutch trader called Hoof.

My Dog by Bulworth Camberpot-Smythe
My dog does nothing.
He lies there all day and night-time too.
He never moves, even when it rains.
I call and call and call, but he just lies there.
Covered in soot, I think he’s dead.

At one point Bulworth was offered the opportunity to recite a poem he had written to her Majesty Queen Victoria. This opportunity was offered by an Irish Traveler called O’Rourke who explained that he was a good friend of John Brown, the Queen’s closest confidant and therefore had the Queen’s ear. Bulworth merely had to give two thousand pounds sterling (all he had) to O’Rourke, who said it was needed for the Queen’s re-election campaign.

Unfortunately Queen Victoria died on Tuesday, 22nd of January, 1901. Since his passage back to Ireland had not yet been booked when the death occurred, O’Rourke told Bulworth that her death was an unsubstantiated rumor, circulated by jealous French Republicans and that the funeral which was held on Saturday 2nd of February in St. George's Chapel, was for the Queen’s pet Pomeranian Turri.

On that Sunday after the state funeral, O’Rourke took Bully with his portfolio of poems to Windsor Park, where he read his poem “I Like The Queen - a Lot” out loud to a group of confused royal deer. Much later in his life, Bulworth discovered that Queen Victoria had indeed been buried the day before his reading. Although she was not present, aware or even alive at the time, Bulworth was, nevertheless, proud to have read his poem to her and boasted for the rest of his life that he had written and read a poem to Queen Victoria.

Since England already had a Poet Laureate, Bulworth began writing to various governments that were under the British Yoke, asking if they needed a Poet Laureate. Unfortunately most governments either didn’t know what a Poet Laureate was or had already eaten theirs, but one day in Spring 1903 a letter came inviting Mr. Chamberpot-Smythe to be Poet Laureate of New Guinea in return for a small stipend of one hundred pounds sterling a year, which, they explained, Bulworth could pay in installments.

Unfortunately Bulworth Chamberpot-Smythe died suddenly, all alone, destitute and over a period of seven years. Although sudden, it was a slow agonizing death passed in a straw mattress bed atop a public house in the South End of London which he rented for tuppence ha’penny a month. Although he was dying Bulworth bravely wrote on, leaving the world more poetry. Most of his later poetry is very difficult to interpret; in fact some of the major critics of the time including G.K. Chesterton called it “Unmitigated shit.” Still there is beauty in the following lines:

Now I lie in bits of straw
The fleas they bite; the rats they gnaw.
I don’t mind the raucous din
That wafts aloft the pub within,
But when the whores come up to play
I wish they’d let their client’s lay
Over there in another room, or at least
A different bed as this one’s leased.
Still and all they are my friends
And I have seen some fine rear ends.
Goodbye moon, goodbye sun,
Goodbye each and everyone.

Bulworth Chamberpot-Smythe died only six years after writing that poem surprising both himself and his physician.