Bagarthach verse was hatched in the science fiction novel The Reefs of Earth by American writer R. A Lafferty. In the novel, alien immigrants to earth occasionally speak in verse. They call it Bagarthach Verse and it has powers beyond the words. (Well, doesn’t all good poetry?) In the book, the mean spirited wishes of the verse often come true. The verse is similar to Ruthless Rhyme. In this world written by earthlings, the verse form would be categorized as Light Verse.

The Bagarthach is:
• funny or clever but mean spirited.
• short, one quatrain.
• syllabic 8-9-8-9 syllables per line, sometimes all lines are 8 syllables.
• rhymed abab.
Here is the first Bagarthach verse in Lafferty’s book, spoken during an argument between two aliens.
“I’m turning livid in this bog,
This wooly world that spooks and spites you.
You’ll find that picture’s got a dog!
I hope the blinking bugger bites you!”
So be careful what you write..Consequently the alien to whom the verse is directed is found dead from a dog bite…..
(Yes, I actually bought and read the book for this research.)

Pasted from
My thanks to Judi Van Gorder for years of work on this fine PMO resource.

My Example

Just Standing in Line (Bagarthach)

You had to rush to get ahead
with thirty-four items in your cart.
I hope you feel a sense of dread
while I turn around right here and fart.

© Lawrencealot – November 11, 2014

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