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Towel Day and Vogon poetry

The 25th of May is the Towel Day - the day we remember Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. As a tribute to him and as a sign of true hitchhikers, we wear our towels visibly on this day.

There are usually events all over the world (see this page) and some of them include recitation of Vogon poetry, the third worst poetry in the universe. And here comes the reason why I am posting this on Duolingo: as The Hitchhiker's Guide has been translated to many languages, the quoted piece of Vogon poetry has many translations too. As part of the Towel Day event in Prague, people usually read the Vogon poetry in as many languages as they dare.

This page contains quite a few of the existing translations, so you can compare how different translators handled this (very tricky) task.

Also, if you know of a translation that isn't listed here, it would be nice if you could share it with us.

May 25, 2016



Including English, of course, since the Vogon poetry was written in Vogon and translated via the Babel fish. Or was it simply translated into meaning rather than another language, being translated directly into the brain by the Babel fish...


Oh freddled gruntbuggly! :)


I just can't get used to New Marvin. :-(


To me, it does not matter that much, because neither Marvin looks like the one I imagine when I read the novels/listen to the radio drama. :)


or acts like the one I immagine.... all that lost sarcasm :(


If Vogon poetry is the third worst, what's worse? :-D


The second worst is that of the Azgoths 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 the audience members died of internal hemorrhaging and the president of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived only by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos was reported to have been "disappointed" by the poem's reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his 12-book epic entitled "My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles" when his own large intestine - in a desperate attempt to save life itself - 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 Sussex, in the destruction of the planet Earth.


Originally, Adams was referring to Paul Neil Milne Johnstone but he changed the name at the poet's request to Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings. Here is one of his poems:

The dead swans lay in the stagnant pool

They lay, they rotted

They turned around occasionally

Bits of flesh dropped off them from time to time

And sank into the pool’s mire

They also smelt a great deal


Thanks, widle! I love to learn new things! Here's a video of Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti reading Adams book marking Towel Day on the International Space Station. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpQfWLkKbhw


Aw... she even has a Don't Panic T-shirt! :)


I had my weather forecast t-shirt on today. :)


I know! I loved her shirt, too!


Oh freddeled gruntbuggly, thy micturations are to me, as flurgled gabbleglotchits on a lurgid bee... that mordiously hath blurted out its earted jurdles into a rancid festering confectious organ squealer...

Delightful :)


And here we all are, on the most improbable planet that ever existed... Thank you Douglas! :-)

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