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Old 07-19-2002, 07:45 PM
Carol Taylor Carol Taylor is offline
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CLASSIC JOKES - a verse anthology

Edited by Timothy Murphy
and Carol Taylor



FOUR ANCIENT WHEEZES


My old man’s got a goat don’t have no nose.
Poor thing, how does it smell? Just terrible.

President Guff can’t see you now. He’s gone
To the United Kingdom. No! When was the funeral?

Lady, I’ll have to take down your particulars.
Why, Officer, we’ve just met! I wouldn’t dream…

Miss, would you like to look at my <u>Cosmopolitan</u>?
Open one button, mister, and I’ll scream.

--X. J. Kennedy

A horse supped a drink in the usual place
and the bartender said "Hey, why the long face?"
--Jim Hayes


*

Introduction by Timothy Murphy

Able Muse is an ezine devoted to metrical poetry, the creation of the very dedicated Alex Pepple. Its affiliate, Eratosphere, is an immense on-line poetry workshop. Our thousands of visitors include everybody from raw beginners to the likes of Robert Mezey and Anthony Hecht.

One of our boards is Musing on Mastery, presided over in the course of its existence by Alan Sullivan, yours truly, and the gifted young poet, A. E. Stallings. Contemporary verse is rarely posted there, unless it’s by Wilbur, Hecht, or other very well established poets. But one day, for a lark, I posted a thread called Classic Jokes, which included Cushioning the Blow, a sonnet I loved by my English friend, David Anthony. I also posted my Peg-leg Pig along with Advice for Bear Country, which Richard Wakefield had just sent me from Seattle. The response was overwhelming. Ireland’s Jim Hayes and New York’s Bob Schechter began pelting me with crackerjacks. A few days later, I joked “What have I started, an anthology?”

Just as the project was spinning out of control, Carol Taylor joined the fray. Carol is Eratosphere’s senior staffer and a word-processing whiz. She contributed her own hilarious verses and helped me organize this pile of paper, internet postings, and email into book form.

Versified jokes came pouring in from Canada, Scotland, England, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and last but not least, the United States. X.J. Kennedy and R.S. Gwynn, whom I do not blush to call living masters of light (and heavy) verse, contributed.

From hundreds of submissions, we have selected the best versifications of the worst jokes.

*

Table of Contents

I Poems of Faith and Piety

Success in the Church, X. J. Kennedy 8
Knocking on the Door, Jim Hayes 8
An Innocent Stroll, Jim Hayes & Timothy Murphy 9
One More Thing, Robert Schechter 9
Tales from the Shtetl, Robert Schecter 10
Power Golf Game, Robert Schechter 10
Thou Shalt Not Curse, Robert Schechter 11
Currency Conversion, Robert Schechter 11
Divine Empathy, Robert Schechter 12
A Gathering by the River, Jim Hayes 12
The Holy Water Font, Kevin Andrew Murphy 13
A Full Confession, Ralph LaRosa 14
Thou, Nor Thine Ox, Nor Thy Minister, John Beaton 14
The Pope in Massachusetts, Jim Hayes 15
Bad Karma, Timothy Murphy 16

II. Poems of Folk and Fable

Man and the Firmament, Carol Taylor 18
Who’s Afraid, David Anthony 19
Tales of Camelot, Robert Schechter 19
The Peg-Leg Pig, Timothy Murphy 20
The Giving of Names, Timothy Murphy 21
The Wall, Jim Hayes 19
Fragment of A Case History, Christopher Wagner 22
The Truth Will Out, Carol Taylor 23


III. Poems of Love and Romance

Survival Kit, Carol Taylor 25
Courtin’, Jim Hayes. 25
The Climbers, Jim Hayes 26
The Wrath of Reilly, Jim Hayes 26
Misguided Love, David C. 27
The Promise, Jim Hayes 27
Business as Usual, Richard Wakefield 28
Couples Therapy, Robert Schechter 29
The Marriage Broker, Robert Schechter 29
Case in Point, Carol Taylor 30
Progressive Hearing Loss, Carol Taylor 31
Refusing Treatment, Robert Schechter 31
Angus and Morag, John Beaton 32
The Statues, Renate Micallef 33
Pastoral Counselling, Robert Schechter 33
Alternative Medicine, Carol Taylor 34
Respect, R. S. Gwynn 34


IV. Poems of the Professions

Rorschach, Robert Schechter 36
Le Mot Juste, Robert Schechter 36
It Takes Two to Tangle, Robert Schechter 37
A False Doctrine, Carol Taylor 37
Entomologist, David Anthony 38
The Stock Boy, Timothy Murphy 38
Going Out in Style, Carol Taylor 39
Fear, John Beaton 40
Missing the Point, Robert Schechter 40
Needs Must, Jim Hayes 41
Leaping to a Conclusion, Roger Schechter 41

V. Poems of Ethnic Pride

Cowboy Garb, Richard Wakefield 43
Western Australia, a State of Mind, Timothy Murphy 43
Relative Positions, Carol Taylor 43
Long Ago and Far Away, Christopher Wagner 44
A Battle Accounted For, X. J. Kennedy 44
Overheard on a Bus, Jim Hayes 45
Ole and Sven Join the Navy, R. S. Gwynn 45
The Lift, Jim Hayes 46
Clockwork,Jim Hayes 47
A Typical Dish, Jim Hayes 47
Out Cruising, Timothy Murphy 48
The Aussie and the Eskimo, Jim Hayes 49
Out Courting, Timothy Murphy 49
The Ball Game, Jim Hayes 50


VI. Dogs, Cats, Kids, and Other Animals

Cushioning the Blow, David Anthony 51
Family Troubles, David Anthony 51
Advice for Bear Country, Richard Wakefield 52
Not Whittier, Robert Schechter 52
Circus Tryout, Robert Schechter 53
Wisdom of the Ages, Richard Wakefield 53
Talented, Jim Hayes 54
The Pet Shop, Kevin Andrew Murphy 54
The Thirsty Gorilla, Robert Schechter 55
Mullah Nasrudin and the Parrot, Kevin Andrew Murphy 55
Fair is Fowl, Robert Schechter 56



VII. Poems of Thrift and Probity

Sharing, John Beaton 58
Bill of Fare, Jim Hayes 58
The Lottery, Jim Hayes 59
Scalped, Jim Hayes 59
Blowing Out the Candle, Jim Hayes 60
Last Call, Jim Hayes 60
To Die For, David Anthony 61
Keeping to a Schedule, Robert Schechter 61


VIII. Is it Whiskey that Ales Ye?

Epitaph, Jim Hayes 63
A Good End, Jim Hayes 63
Under The Weather, David Anthony 63
Home Late, Jim Hayes 64
The Snatch, Jim Hayes 64
Bearing the News, David Anthony 64
In the Village Pub, Richard Wakefield 65
Vintage, Jim Hayes 65
The Local, Jim Hayes 66
Double Trouble, Jim Hayes 66
Missing School, Jim Hayes 67



I. Poems of Faith and Piety

SUCCESS IN THE CHURCH

How high up can a bright, hard-working boy
BANNED POST BANNED POSTGo in your church?” inquired Moe Finkelstein.
“If he’s real gold,” said Pat, “and not alloy,
BANNED POST BANNED POSTHe’ll be a priest, and on the altar shine.”

“Only a priest?” Moe countered, unimpressed.
BANNED POST BANNED POST“Of course,” Pat mused. “Maybe a monsignor.”
That’s all?” scoffed Moe. Said Pat, “The very best
BANNED POST BANNED POSTBecome a bishop.” Moe frowned. “Aw, you mean your

Church can’t do better by him?” “Well,” said Pat,
BANNED POST BANNED POST“He might prove worthy of more preferment
And one day wear a cardinal’s red hat.”
BANNED POST BANNED POST“Not half enough,” said Moe. “Not what I meant.”

“All right,” cried Pat, “say he’s elected Pope!”
BANNED POST BANNED POST“Just Pope? Just Pope’s as high as he could go?
For such piss-poor success, a boy should hope?
BANNED POST BANNED POSTA lot of people make a lot more dough.”

Pat had no more promotions on his shelf,
BANNED POST BANNED POSTBut one last card remained. In rage, he played it:
“You think he should be Jesus Christ himself?”
BANNED POST BANNED POSTMoe shrugged. “So why not? One of our boys made it.”
---X. J. Kennedy

KNOCKING ON THE DOOR

Pat and Mick are doing road repairs
outside a well-known house of ill repute
when Pat gets hold of Mick and says “Look! There’s
old Rabbi Greenberg entering. I knew’t!
Sure, none o'them lads can respect the cloth.”
A short time later, knocking on the door
comes Pastor Smith. “Mick, jaypers, be me troth—
the minister is visiting a whore!
‘Tis scandalous the way these hypocrites
go through these doors committin’ mortal sin;
they’ll surely pay when God in judgement sits!”
Just then old Father Murphy scurries in.
“Yet have a look at that man now,” says Mick,
“Sure--one of them poor ladies must be sick!”
--Jim Hayes

AN INNOCENT STROLL

A priest enjoying a ramble by a ditch
happened across a frog that looked forlorn.
It sorrowfully sobbed,"An evil witch
deprived me of the form I had when born.
I was a boy," it told the startled priest,
"But now I must remain an ugly frog
until some man, taking me home to feast,
pours me a drink before the blazing log,
then tucks me in beside him in his bed."
Swayed by this tragic tale so sadly spoken,
the priest bedded the frog, but in its stead,
a choir boy lay beside him when he'd woken.
The boy was grateful and his joy immense.
"And that, Your Honor, is the case for the defense."
--Jim Hayes & Timothy Murphy

ONE MORE THING

When Goldie took her baby to the beach,
a giant wave arose and snatched the kid
beneath the ocean's surface, out of reach.
It seemed quite certain Goldie's boy was dead.

But Goldie dropped down on her knees and prayed.
"Oh Lord! Restore my baby and I swear
I will devoutly praise the world You made
and be forever happy with my share."

So God restored her baby, quite unharmed,
to where the wave had snatched him as he sat.
She was relieved at first, but then alarmed:
"Oh Lord! There's one more thing: He had a hat!"
--Robert Schechter


TALES FROM THE SHTETL

The Rabbi always knew just what to say.
At least this seemed to hold true in the past.
One night his students came up with a way
to see if they could stump the man at last.

They got him drunk on wine until he slept,
then dragged him to the graveyard by the lake
and laid him down beside an ancient crypt
to secretly observe their Rabbi wake.

What would he say? The pranksters all drew near.
The Rabbi rose and spoke, "Lord, answer me!
If I'm not dead, what am I doing here?
But if I am, then why this urge to pee?"
--Robert Schechter

POWER GOLF GAME
Moses said to Jesus, "You go first."
So Jesus stepped up to the tee and shot.
The golfball left the golfclub in a burst
then rose into a bank of clouds and got

caught in the beak of an eagle high above.
The eagle flew some distance, then it dropped
the ball in the back of a dump-truck which then drove
swiftly toward the golf course where it stopped

and dumped its load. The ball rolled through the fence,
but still its fateful journey was not done.
The players watched, but there was no suspense.
The ball fell in the cup. A hole in one.

What Moses said was typically profound:
"Did you come here to golf, or screw around?"
--Robert Schechter

THOU SHALT NOT CURSE

As I played golf with Bishop John, I cursed.
"Oh shit! I missed!" His Holiness said, "Tsk.
While dirty language may not be the worst
of mortal sins, it still entails the risk

that God may aim a lightning bolt your way."
My next swing failed to touch the ball. I said,
"Oh shit! I missed!" Quoth Bishop John: "Son, pay
heed to my warning. God will strike you dead!"

I swung again, and one more time the ball
remained untouched upon the fairway lawn.
I cursed. At that a rain began to fall
and lightning came and struck down Bishop John.

A mundane death, but with a godly twist.
A voice boomed down from heaven: Shit, I missed!
--Robert Schechter

CURRENCY CONVERSION

Two Jews were walking near a church and saw
a sign that said: We'll pay you to convert.
Become a Christian and reject the Law
of Moses. Earn hard cash. It couldn't hurt!


So Irving went right in. But Izzy waited.
An hour later, Irving came back out.
"It's more convincing than I anticipated,"
Irving said. "I'm Christian now. Devout."

"But Irving," Izzy cried, "that's quite absurd!
You're orthodox. How could you be so rash?
Now tell me everything that just occurred.
And by the way, did they give you the cash?"

"Oy, Izzy!" Irving sighed. "It's almost funny
how much you Jews are fixated on money."
--Robert Schechter

DIVINE EMPATHY

When Izzy's son became a Christian, he
was shocked and sad and went to get advice
from Rabbi Cohen, who said, "Well, don't ask me.
My own son did the same as yours. Ask wise
old Rabbi Greenberg what you ought to do."
So Izzy went to Greenberg and was told:
"What your son did, alas, my son did too.
May God above restore them to the fold!"

So Izzy turned to God. He ripped his clothes,
he fasted, beat his chest, and launched a prayer
so pure that all his supplications rose
straight unto heaven, and it was from there

God's voice came down. "And you are asking who?
What you son did, alas, my son did too.”
--Robert Schechter

GATHERING BY THE RIVER

A baptismal service was held by the river,
O’Hare walked up and stood by the preacher.
“And have ye found Christ?” said the preacher. “Niver,”
said O’Hare, a sorrowful, sinful creature.
The preacher grabbed him and dunked in his head—
then pulled him back up—“Did ye find Him then?
“Nnooo, I ddidn’t” poor O’Hare said.
The preacher pushed him under again.

“Brother,” he said, “Have ye found Jesus now?”
“Nnnooo, Rrrevend!” was all he could gasp.
“By the saints ye’ll find him! I’ll show ye how!”
thundered the preacher with O’Hare in his grasp.
”Wwwait!” said O’Hare, “’Fore I go in agin—
are ye sssartin ssure this is wwwhere he fell in?”
--Jim Hayes

THE HOLY WATER FONT

Four nuns all stood. Each shed a tear
And cried, “We must confess
Our awful sins, oh Father dear–
Forgive us and God bless!”

The first nun cried, “I’ve been so bad!
Forgive me when I say
I chanced to see a naked lad
And didn’t look away!”

The Father spoke: “This was unwise
Yet still you can be shriven.
Go to the font and bathe your eyes
And all will be forgiven.”

The next nun cried, “This naked lad,
His manhood was so grand,
I must confess, I simply had
To touch it with my hand!”

“Heaven forbid!” the Father swore.
“That’s quite a sin, my daughter.
Yet take that hand, and as before,
Wash it with holy water.”

The fourth nun then turned to the third
And asked, “Mind if I cut?
I’ll gargle, but from what we’ve heard,
You’re going to wash your butt.”
--Kevin Andrew Murphy


THOU, NOR THINE OX, NOR THY MINISTER

The Reverend Clanachan yielded to the fishing
that tempted him sorely to flout the Sabbath Day;
throughout the sermon and psalms he’d daydreamed, wishing
that all these damned parishioners would go away
and let him scurry surreptitiously
to the Minister’s Pool to cast a Thunder and Lightning
now the spate had dropped and cleared propitiously
and fish were in - he felt his fly-line tightening.

But God was wroth and His punishment fitted the crime -
the Reverend landed a most magnificent salmon,
the largest ever recorded at the time,
but this was a bitter gift bestowed by Mammon:
he admired the creature then gave an anguished yell,
“Holy Mackerel! It’s Sunday. Whom can I tell?”
--John Beaton

A FULL CONFESSION

“Forgive me, Father, I have sinned.”
What have you done, my son?
“Oh, I’ve had sex, I’m sad to say.”
And with whom was this done?

“I cannot answer. I’m ashamed.”
Was it Maureen O’Brien?
“Father, I can't in conscience say.”
Perchance, ‘twas Judy Ryan?

“Oh, it would not be right to tell.”
Ah, then, young Peg O’Connor?
“Absolve me, but I can't reveal.”
Say a rosary in her honor.

When leaving the confessional,
he saw his pal Joe Deeds:
“What did you get for penance, Jim?”
”One rosary—three new leads!”
--Ralph LaRosa

THE POPE IN MASSACHUSETTS

The Pope, being driven down the motorway,
figures he might like to take the wheel;
his chauffeur moves into the back, and hey!
the Pope puts down the boot to get the feel

of what his armored limousine can do.
At 95 he's chased down by a trooper
who pulls him over. Realizing who
he's stopped, he gasps: "I gotta call my Super.

One moment, please." He’s called the Chief and said,
”I've stopped a VIP and need to know
what I should do." "Who is it? It's not Ted
again?” "This guy's more important--no."

The chief says "It's the Governer, then, isn't it?"
"Oh no, far more important than even him."
"Is it the President ya've stopped, ya dimwit?"
”No, it’s not, and who are ya calling dim?”

"Well who the devil is it then, ya dope?
"I don’t know, but his chauffeur is the Pope!"
--Jim Hayes

BAD KARMA

A girl driving her donkeys out to grass
was ambushed by an old, outlandish man
who tried to straddle her. The robust lass
thrust off her would-be ravisher and ran
home to her mother in their humble yurt.
As barking mastiffs spooked her father’s yak,
the lathered girl had scarcely breath to blurt
her story of the reprobate’s attack.

Her mother recognized the Tantric seer
Dugpa Kunlegs, revered throughout Tibet.
Among the Nyingmapa he had no peer;
who knew what prodigy he might beget?
“Go throw your body at his sacred feet
and gratify the mighty lama’s whim,”
mother instructed daughter. “Go entreat
Rinpoche’s pardon for repulsing him!”

The girl returned and flung herself prostrate.
“My child,” the Holy One sighed wearily,
“Women don’t interest me. You’ve come too late
to implement my purpose. Recently
the Grand Lama of Yerpa Gompa died.
Wasting his life on drunkenness and mirth,
he left a host of sins unrectified.
I sought to save him from a bad rebirth
after I glimpsed his spirit drifting here.
But while you left your herd to graze, alas,
two of your donkeys coupled; and I fear
the Grand Lama will be reborn an ass.
--Tim Murphy


II. Poems of Folk and Fable

MAN AND THE FIRMAMENT

Sherlock Holmes and Watson were camping out one night.
At three a.m. Sherlock woke up. The stars seemed strangely bright.

“Watson, look above your head and tell me what you see.”
“I think that’s Scorpius,” Watson said, “and the Cannes Venatici.”

“And what is their significance?” inquired the master sleuth,
while Watson grappled sleepily for some deductive truth.

“Well, scientifically,” he said, on due conjecturing,
“we’re north of the twenty-first parallel; the sky’s clear; and it’s spring.

“Spiritually,” Watson ventured on, “it makes me realize
the intricate balance of God’s plan, just looking at those skies.

“And philosophically,” he mused, “I think how small we are--
our solar system just a speck, our sun a tiny star.”

But seeing Holmes still frowning, Watson said, “Then you tell me
what else it means. We ought to get some sleep; it’s after three.”

Holmes rolled his eyes and gestured at the sparkling firmament,
“Watson, you idiot!” he said, “Somebody stole our tent!”
--Carol A. Taylor

WHO’S AFRAID?

Miss Jones, who takes the younger children, prides
herself on spinning yarns: at five years old
the kids, when entertained, are good as gold,
and sometimes say surprising things besides.
They loved the story of the pig that tries
to build a little house of straw the bold
and wicked wolf can’t wreck--a tale best told
with care, explaining what it signifies.

“The pig,” she told them, “found a turnip bed
made out of straw, and asked if he could dig
a little up. Guess what the farmer said!”
“I know”, cried Jude, one hand above her head,
and standing (since she wasn’t very big):
“Well, bugger me--here comes a talking pig!”
--David Anthony

TALES FROM CAMELOT
[removed by Admin, 9.15.2015]

THE PEG-LEG PIG

A farmer’s daughter keeps a hog
who sports a wooden leg.
“Tell me about that peg-leg pig,”
travelling salesmen beg.

“He saved me from a rabid skunk.
He stomped it with his peg.”

Suspiciously a seed man squints:
“How did he lose the leg?”

“He found me when a whiteout hit
and led me through the snow.”

“You called the vet to amputate?
A case of frostbite?” “No.

“He pulled me from a flaming barn
before the rafters fell.”

“Enough to put me off my corn.
It must have hurt like hell.”

“Who said my peg-leg pig was lamed?
He never got a scratch.”

“That leg is missing all the same.
Sister, what’s the catch?

“Was it chomped on by a bigger pig
or torn off by a plow,
squashed beneath a threshing rig
or trampled by a cow?

“Was the porker born to walk on wood
or crippled in his prime?”
“Mister, you eat a pig this good
one leg at a time.”

--Tim Murphy

THE GIVING OF NAMES

“Why is my elder brother named
Raven Overhead?”
A raven circled your mother
when she first came to my bed.


“Why is my elder sister named
Doe Leaps in the Mist?”
A deer passed in the morning
while your mother and I kissed.


“Why is my baby sister named
Star Sets to the West?”
The evening star was sinking
as I lay on your mother’s breast.


“How did you name your younger son?”
pestered the thumb-sucking
little brave his father called
Two Dogs Fucking.
--Tim Murphy

THE WALL

Jock, strolling with his friend, an Englishman,
happens upon a lamp washed up by the sea;
they scrub and polish it as best they can:
out pops a genie saying “At last I’m free!”
I’m going to give you each one wish for this.”
The Englishman says “England for the English,
I’m sick and tired of all these Jocks--what bliss
if I could keep the whole lot out! My wish
is for a wall that goes around all England.”
No sooner is this said than POOF—it’s there!
Says Jock, “Och Genie, this wall‘s surely grand—
‘tis wondrous thick and two miles in the air.
Naething gets in or out through sich fine mortar;
weel 'tis my wish ye fill it up with water."
--Jim Hayes


FRAGMENT OF A CASE OF HISTORY

“I think I get you Dr. F.,” said Alice,
“Except the part about the phallic symbol.”
“It’s anysing zat represents a phallus,”
Herr Freud shot back (his intellect was nimble).

“I kinda guessed that much, but what the hell’s
A phallus?” Freud’s reply was long and deep
And full of Latin words, ‘ahems’ and ‘wells’,
So Alice lost the thrust and fell asleep.

“Aha! I’ve got it,” Freud ejaculated,
“Ze item’s von vit vich I am eqvipped--
It might be better if I demonstrated.”
Saying “Behold ze Phallus!” he unzipped.

Said Alice, with the aura of a scholar
“I see! It’s something like a prick, but smaller!”
--Christopher Wagner

THE TRUTH WILL OUT


A Kansas farmer with a half-grown son
hitched up the wagon to the flop-eared mule
one Saturday and took his kid to town.
The farmer told the boy, “Son, you’re a fool,
But if you sit here on the wagon bed,
don’t bother folks, and keep your big mouth shut
while I go in the store and get some feed
then maybe no one else will find it out."

A shopper asked the youth what time he had.
The boy just acted like he hadn’t heard.
The man spoke louder, “Don’t you hear me, lad?”
The boy turned red but didn’t say a word,
Just sat there still and silent as a post,
his eyes glued on the rear end of the mule.
The city slicker gave it up at last
and muttered, “You must be some kind of fool!”

His father asked him why his face was red.
He looked up at his dad in some dismay
and sniffed, “Well, Pa, I done just like you said
but folks found out about it anyway.”
--Carol A. Taylor



III. Poems of Love and Romance

SURVIVAL KIT

A banker and a supermodel, victims of a shipwreck,
BANNED POST BANNED POSTwashed up together in the inland bay
of an uncharted atoll in the balmy South Pacific.
BANNED POST BANNED POSTAt first they hoped for rescue any day.

But weeks gave way to seasons, bringing tropical bad weather.
BANNED POST BANNED POSTThey built a hut against the rain and winds,
and when the monsoon hit they sheltered in the hut together,
BANNED POST BANNED POSTand so became the very best of friends.

Next morning, Cyndi asked her lover what to do to please him.
BANNED POST BANNED POST“I want to show you how I feel. Is there
some fantasy you’re holding back?” John answered, halfway teasing,
BANNED POST BANNED POST“I wonder if you’d let me cut your hair?”

The supermodel, thinking just how far she was off camera,
BANNED POST BANNED POSTagreed to cut her hair. “I get the picture.”
“Hold still,” he said and drew a thin moustache that hid her dimples.
BANNED POST BANNED POST“I wonder if you’d let me call you Victor?”

“I never thought you’d ask for this,” said Cyndi, quite upset,
BANNED POST BANNED POSTBut since it’s only fantasy, all right.”
John leaned back on his elbows and confided, “Vic, I’ll bet
BANNED POST BANNED POSTyou’ll never guess who I slept with last night!”
--Carol A. Taylor

COURTIN’

Pat and Moll were ‘walking out’
for forty years or more,
when Moll one day impatiently
said to Pat; “A'stor,*
don’t ye think we could be wed?
We needn't make a fuss.
“I do,” said Pat, “But Molly sure
would anyone have us?”
--Jim Hayes
*Term of endearment

THE CLIMBERS

Pat and Lura loved to climb the hills.
To MacGillycuddy's Reeks they went each day,
but Lura said she loved the thrills and spills
of mountain summits that were far away.
So Patrick took her to the Himalayas,
to the Caucasus, atop the Rockies too,
and to the Andes and where he knew the Mayas
lived and where the bravest eagles flew.
But Lura’s skin was fair and sensitive,
and when they climbed the Urals she got burned;
Oh how she cried and said she could not live
if home her footsteps now were to be turned.
But Patrick looked and said; "My love don’t cry--
tour all Ural Lura? Too raw, Lura, lie".
--Jim Hayes

THE WRATH OF REILLY

Rafferty was puzzled when he saw
the state of his friend Fennelly’s physog;
his eye was bleeding and his nose was raw;
his clothes were as though savaged by a dog.
“What happened Mick? Ye look a holy show.
I’ve not seen such a sight in all me life.”
“I was caught flagrante delicto,”
said Fennelly, “In bed with Reilly’s wife.”
“Be jabbers Mick he gave ye quite a hidin'.
Could ye not have made a better stand
agin his big shillelagh? I'm not chidin’
but had ye nothing useful in yer hand?”
“I had!— his missus' ass-- a gorgeous sight;
but ‘twasn’t much good to me in a fight.”
--Jim Hayes

MISGUIDED LOVE SONNET

A drunken man alone beside a bar
lights up a cigarette and starts to cry.
In calling for the barman passing by,
he`s clearly several bourbons over par.
"I`ve just found out my wife is having sex
with my best friend while I`m out keeping fit,"
he shouts. "It`s happened twice before, but shit,
what can I do? Gimme another Becks."
With Dolly Parton ringing in his brain,
the barman asks him plain just what he said
on finding them together in the bed
in love entwined, unable to explain
when he returned home early from his jog.
"I just grabbed hold of him and said...BAD dog!”
--David C.

THE PROMISE

Patrick was very ill and almost dead—
his missus asked the doctor to attend,
the doc examined Pat and then he said,
“I think that I can get him on the mend.”
“There's three things you must do,” he told the wife.
“That's if you want to get him on his feet.”
“There’s nothing I won’t do to save his life!
Without him, faith, me world is not complete.”
“Well, one: don’t argue with him any more;
two: make sure he gets three meals a day;
three: make love each night with an encore.”
“Agreed,” says she. The doc went on his way.
“Oh love,” moaned Pat, “do ye think that I’ll get by?”
“No—the doctor says ye’re goin’ to die.”
--Jim Hayes

BUSINESS AS USUAL

One morning Jane is sweeping up the floor
and hears a rapping at her kitchen door.
It’s Tom, her husband’s friend. She tells him Jack
already left for work and won’t be back
‘till dinner time, and Tom says, “Yes, I know.
I’ll pay a thousand dollars if you’ll go
upstairs with me to have some one on one.”
Jane is flabbergasted. She’s never done
the deed for dough. However, money’s tight
these days, so tight that Jack, ‘most every night,
is too distracted to perform in bed,
and just a day or two ago he said
he’d have to sell his boat, his favorite toy,
to pay the bills. Then too, she might enjoy
some in and out with Tom. Oh, what the hell,
a grand’s a grand, and if he rings her bell
a time or two, that’s icing on the cake.
So with a shrug and smile she says, “Let’s take
a little walk upstairs.” Soon the springs
are singing loudly with their couplings,
and Jane is pleased to learn that pleasure pays.
They’re having so much fun Tom almost stays
too long: at five o’clock he counts the grand,
ten hundred-dollar bills, into her hand.
He’s hardly left when Jack gets home, and she
intends to say she won the lottery.
But Jack comes in all smiles and asks her, quote,
“Did Tom come by to pay us for my boat?”
Jane, though speechless, can’t help but conclude
she’s never before been quite so thoroughly screwed.
--Richard Wakefield

COUPLES THERAPY

The counsellor said, "It's all communication.
That's what makes most couples fail or thrive.
Develop codes for every situation
and thus ensure your marriage stays alive."

So when I ask for sex, don't make me guess.
I'd much prefer you clue me in like so:
Pull on my penis once to answer yes,
but pull three hundred times to answer no.
--Robert Schechter

THE MARRIAGE BROKER

A marriage broker said to Ira Cohen
that Princess Grace would make a perfect bride
for his son Benjamin, who lived alone.
"But she's not Jewish! Did you think that I'd

consider for a minute what you're saying?
I can't approve this match. No way! I'm sorry."
"I know, I know! But haven't you been praying
that Benjamin would someday get to marry

a woman rich and beautiful as Grace?
A chance like this may never come again.
Who cares about religion? What a face!
Your son would be the envy of all men!"

"You're right," said Ira Cohen. "I give permission.
It's best for Benjamin, though I'm bereft."
"Great!" the broker cried. "That's half my mission.
And now, convincing Grace is all that's left.”
--Robert Schechter

A CASE IN POINT

A woman told her husband, “What I want--
I’ve thought about this long and carefully.
and made my mind up--I want surgery
for breast enlargement, silicone implant.

Her husband said, “You look okay to me.”
She answered, “This is not just about you.
It’s really something that has more to do
with my self-image. Charlie, don’t you see?

“I’ve never felt I looked as good as I
could look. You know I have no self-esteem.
Turning men’s heads is every woman’s dream.
Your friends will envy you when I pass by.”

“What does it cost?” he caved in after a time.
Maude smiled and said, “Don’t get excited, dear,”
It’s just five thousand dollars. Never fear,
I’m sure you’ll find that it’s worth every dime.”

Charlie said, “You know I love you, honey,”
“but first I wish you’d do one thing for me
to try to enhance your breasts naturally.
Five thousand dollars is a lot of money!

“Go in the bathroom and tear off a wad
of toilet paper. Fold it, tightly pressed,
and rub it up and down between your breasts.
Charlie, have you lost your mind?” screamed Maude.

“You don’t care how I feel! Oh, you’re so crass!
That isn’t going to help!” She started to cry.
“It might,” her husband said... “It’s worth a try.
After all, it worked fine on your ass.”
--Carol A.Taylor

PROGRESSIVE HEARING LOSS

Oscar went in for his yearly exam
although he was still feeling well.
The doctor shook hands, asked him, "How is your wife?"
"She's older and meaner than hell
and harder to live with," the man told his doctor.
"She's getting as deaf as a post."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Doc Jones said to Oscar.
"How much of her hearing's she lost?"

I don't really know, Doctor," Oscar replied.
"Is there a good way to find out?"
"Oh, sure, that's quite simple. Stand back fifty feet
and ask her a question. Don't shout.
If she doesn't answer, then work in a bit
until she can hear you just fine."
So Oscar, returning for supper that night,
called out from the fifty-foot line,

"Hi, dear. What's for supper?" He got no reply,
so at forty he asked her again,
then at thirty, then twenty, and then, eye-to-eye,
"Hi, dear. What's for supper?" at ten.
His wife stared him down, looking cold as a witch,
her expression as sour as limes,
"Don't ask me again, you dumb son-of-a-bitch,
It's chicken. I've told you five times!"
--Carol A. Taylor


REFUSING TREATMENT

My wife thinks she's a chicken. Clucks all day,
flaps her elbows, swallows too much rain,
says that I am her rooster when we play
at barnyard sport. I don't mean to complain,

but sometimes all this poultry stuff seems strange.
Obsessed, she cannot stop, and sometimes begs
we move outside and live our lives "free-range"....
Why don't I have her cured? I need the eggs.
--Robert Schechter

ANGUS AND MORAG
They were playmates together, as teenagers, lovers,
yes Angus and Morag were matched from the start
in that rare combination where first love discovers
a lifetime of joy: hand in hand, heart to heart.

So they entered their sixties in relative bliss
but despite constant trying, were barren - no child;
in their near-perfect lives this one thing was amiss
then old Morag got pregnant. The village went wild.

Some never believed it until she had swelled
and some would still doubt till her labor was through
so Angus, proud father, said as he upheld
his new daughter, “Just wait till they hear about you.”

Then Morag, the practical one of the twosome,
said “Angus, it’s not in our nature to boast,
but just once in a lifetime... tomorrow you’ll do some
newspaper announcing - the Highlander’s Post!”

The following night he came in looking guilty,
“So has the announcement been published today?”
He shambled across to the bed, slow and wilty,
“So out with it, Angus! Which cow went astray?”

"It was awful expensive - a hellish high cost -
over three thousand pounds was the price I'd to pay!"
"Over three thousand pounds! Why, Angus, that's most
of the money we’ve saved - what on earth did you say?"

"They flummoxed me, Morag. My brains went a-scatter;
I shouldn’t have told them - I’d carefully thought
it all out and I gave them the usual patter
and that was all fine... but... but then..." "But then what?"

"Why Morag they moved on to personal questions!"
"Those newspaper people - all gossip and ears!"
"I said when they asked me "How many insertions?"
"Och, five times a week for forty-five years.""
--John Beaton

THE STATUES

A lonely pair of lovers in the park
stand frozen in a moment far apart.
The statues separated in the dark
brought tears to anyone who had a heart.
A century without their underwear,
their proud bare bodies shouldering the nest
and refuse of a flock that has no care
but lets go its cloaca with the best.

A fairy full of pity and a wand
would grant a special favour for the pair
"Let them be human! Now they may abscond
into the bushes and their love repair!"
Above the rustling of the leaves was heard
Squeals of delight, it was a joyous fit,
"It's my turn darling, will you hold the bird
in place, so I can take a dump on it."
--Renate Micallef

PASTORAL COUNSELLING

Three weeks after Mary's wedding night,
Mary phones her minister to say,
"Steve and I just had a dreadful fight!"
"Relax," he says. "Such fights are just God's way

of strengthening love by testing it. You'll find
your marriage all the stronger for such strains."
"That's quite a weight," says Mary, "off my mind.
But how should I dispose of Steve's remains?"
--Robert Schechter



ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE


A woman lay in a coma for six months.
Her family squeezed her hand and spoke her name;
the doctor pricked her toe: always the same;
nothing brought about the least response,
until one day, while sponging down the patient,
the nurse observed a flutter of the heart
each time she swabbed the woman’s private part--
a positive response to stimulation.
The doctors called the husband and proposed
he give her oral sex; the curtain closed.
They tracked the action from the nurses’ station,
and watched the line go flat on the cardiograph.
“What happened?” cried an intern, out of breath.
“Well, I’m no doctor,” the husband told the staff,
but if you ask me, I’d say she choked to death.”
--Carol A. Taylor


RESPECT

While lining up a birdie putt, old Jim
Suddenly dropped his club, removed his hat
And held it to his chest. "What's wrong with him?"
Said Homer to his friend. Sean pointed: "That."

They paused until the funeral had gone.
Said Homer, "Such respect. I was near tears."
"Jim's a real gentleman," responded Sean.
"Besides, they had been married forty years."
--R. S. Gwynn


IV. Poems of the Professions


RORSCHACH

He showed me ink-blot one. I told him, "Wow!
I never saw six lesbians in diapers!"
He showed me ink-blot two. I cried out, "How
can one man fuck nine gorgeous candy stripers?"

He showed me ink-blot three. I blushed to say,
"It seems the goat takes pleasure being raped."
He showed me ink-blot four. I screamed, "No way!
That's just not how a proper tit is shaped."

The doctor paused. "My God, you are disgusting!
There's not a word you've uttered here today
that's not been tainted by your filthy lusting."
I said, "What kind of game is this you play,

to claim that I'm perverted, I'm the nut,
when you're the one who showed me all that smut?"
--Robert Schechter

LE MOT JUSTE

"Doctor, please perform a quick castration,"
the patient said. The doctor almost died.
"Is this the product of deliberation?"
"Yes, I've thought it out," the man replied.

And so the doctor did as was he was bidden,
and when the patient woke he said to him,
"At first I thought you must have just been kiddin',
since most of us would rather lose a limb,

but now that the procedure's safely over
I can confess it's quite the first I've done.
I've circumcised a thousand men. However,
my tally of castrations comes to one."

The startled patient clutched at his empty cup,
then cried, "My God! I got those terms mixed up!"
--Robert Schechter

IT TAKES TWO TO TANGLE

The town had just one lawyer, but the fact is
the poor guy couldn't drum up any practice.

But then a second lawyer set up shop.
Now both of them have caseloads that won't stop.
--Robert Schechter

A FALSE DOCTRINE

A dead man went to see a shrink
to please his nagging wife.
She said, “I don’t care what you think,
you’re coming back to life!”

The doctor lectured long and dear
to put their minds at rest.
At last he told the man, “See here,
We’ll do a little test.

“Do you believe if you are dead
your finger will not bleed?”
“Yes, that is true,” the dead man said,
“I’m ready to proceed.”

The doctor pricked the patient’s hand.
Out sprang three drops of red.
“You see?” the doctor told the man.
“This proves you can’t be dead!”

The patient watched the droplets fall.
“I wouldn’t have believed
that dead men do bleed after all!
I guess I’ve been deceived.”
--Carol Taylor



ENTOMOLOGIST

Nell shines among the brightest academics
within the world of entomology.
All bugs enthral her, and the bumblebee
inspired her noted “Insectile Polemics.”
The other day I called around to tell her
I’d spotted her VW in town,
going too fast (it nearly ran me down)
and driven by a shifty-looking feller.

“Oh God, he’s got my insects!” Helen cried.
She had my sympathy--it takes such care
to build collections--and I wondered where
they’d been: the boot, or on a seat inside?
“No, neither place: I keep the inside clean.
They’re squashed against the headlamps and the screen.”
--David Anthony

THE STOCK BOY

A young boy at the produce shelf was wrapping a lettuce head.
“I’ll have half a head of lettuce,” a white-haired gentleman said.
The lad: “Mister they’re ain’t no halves. We sell ‘em as they’re grown.”
“I cannot eat a lettuce, lad. Alas, I live alone.”
The boy burst through the swinging door and said “A doddering crock
wants half a head of lettuce, and he’s half-dead by the clock…”
But seeing the old man at his heels, the lad said with a laugh:
“And this distinguished gentleman fancies the other half.”

The manager watched the old man, departing with his buy,
and told the boy, “Good work, my lad. Very quick thinking. I
might send you to Toronto to supervise some stores.”
The boy cried “Who would want to live with hockey players and whores?”
“My wife is from Toronto! Wash your mouth! Watch what you say!”
Smiling, the boy said “Really? What position did she play?”
--Tim Murphy

GOING OUT IN STYLE

An aging spinster phoned her young attorney.
“I have no next of kin to leave bereft;
I’ve forty thousand dollars in my savings,
and want to designate how it is left.

“First, I’d like to have the grandest funeral
this town has ever seen, go out in style.
Can it be done for thirty-five thousand dollars?”
The lawyer said “No problem,” with a smile.

“But what,” he asked, “about the last five thousand?”
The lady cleared her throat, then firmly said,
“There’s one experience my life’s been lacking.
I’d like just once to take a man to bed

before I die. Do you suppose five thousand
is enough for you to find a gentleman
to do the job? Somebody young and handsome?”
The lawyer said, “Why, yes. I think I can.”

He told his anxious client not to worry,
he’d finalze arrangements right away.
That evening over dinner he broached the subject
when his wife asked him how he’d spent his day.

“Five thousand bucks would come in pretty handy.
What do you think? Ought I to take it on?”
“It’s better than letting the money go to strangers,”
his wife agreed, and so the deal was done.

He called his client and made the proposition.
She thought it almost too good to be true.
His wife then dropped him at the lady's condo.
“Just call and I’ll come get you when you’re through.”

An hour and five thousand dollars later,
the wife picked up her ringing cellular.
Her husband said, "Come get me in the morning.
She’s going to let the county bury her.”
--Carol A. Taylor

FEAR

A bowler-hatted city gent was driving
along the motorway when nature called;
he pulled his Jag to the shoulder and, contriving
to defecate behind it, was appalled -
a siren! Panic-stricken, he raised his pants
just as the squad-car peeled in. What to do?
In such a fix a chap must take a chance -
he threw his bowler hat upon the poo!

"Hello, hello, sir, everything OK?"
"Yes, officer." He now felt cavalier.
"So why are you stopped on the motorway?"
"Er... I'm an entomologist and here...
yes, here a specimen of butterfly
was fluttering, the rarest in ..." "O, look,
you've dropped your hat. I'll get it."
"Don't, please!" "Why?"
"I stopped but had no net and so I took
my bowler to the task. The insect's under it."
"No point in keeping it there - you'll miss your luncheon.
You raise the hat. It won't have time to flit
before I stun it with my trusty truncheon."


The gent was nonchalant no more. No hope.
His Adam's apple wobbled; he went white.
"Now!" Whack! Splatter! "Did you get it?" "Nope,
but one thing's sure - I gave it quite a fright!"

--John Beaton

MISSING THE POINT
Rabbi Cohen once asked his student, Ted,
"Who is my father's son but not my brother?"
Ted answered, "I don't know." The Rabbi said:
"Why, it's me! How could it be another?"
Ted couldn't wait to try this on his mother.
He loved to make her laugh and make her groan.
"Who is my father's son but not my brother?
Give up?" His mother answered: "Rabbi Cohen!"
--Robert Schechter

NEEDS MUST

A Captain assigned to the French Foreign Legion
was transferred one day to a desert post.
To acquaint himself with the men in his region,
he went on a tour with the Sarge as his host.

He saw by the barracks an old dromedary
and asked; “What’s it for? said the Sarge, “It’s dire
around here, sir, where there is nary
a woman to sate a soldier’s desire!”

“If it’s good for morale, then I couldn’t care less,
though a tryst with a camel? I’d much sooner die.”
But he cracked after months of abstemiousness--
“BRING ME THE CAMEL,” the Sarge heard him cry.

The sergent saluted. “Sir, she’s no beaut.”
The Captain, on a footstool with trousers pulled down,
rogered it, then said; “That’s how the men do’t?”
“Well no sir-- we use her to ride into town.”
--Jim Hayes

LEAPING TO A CONCLUSION

Jenkins was a private whose platoon
was being trained to parachute from planes,
the very thought of which made Jenkins swoon.
"Don't worry, Jenkins, we have taken pains
to make your jump a safe one. When you leap,
the parachute will open up automatically,
but if it doesn't, soldier, simply keep
calm and tug this back-up ring, emphatically,
and that should work. Still, here's a second ring
to pull if the first one fails. In any case,
after you reach the ground a truck will bring
you back in time for supper to the base."
So Private Jenkins jumped. No chute came out!
He tugged the back-up ring, but still no luck.
The second back-up failed. He sighed, "No doubt
those jerks will now forget to send the truck!"
--Robert Schechter




V. Poems of Ethnic Pride

COWBOY GARB

A lady from New York has come out west
and meets a real live cowboy. "Do you mind,"
she asks, "explaining why you wear a vest
and chaps and cowboy hat? Are they designed
for special functions?" "Sure," the cowboy grins.
"My vest provides some warmth but frees me up
to swing a rope. My chaps protect my shins
from thorns. My hat serves as my horse's cup
and has this brim to cut the desert glare."
Allured, the lady questions with a pucker:
"But what about those running shoes you wear?"
"Oh, they're so folks will know I'm not a trucker."

--Richard Wakefield


WESTERN AUSTRALIA --
THE STATE OF MIND

A trucker in Mundiwindi
grins from his dusty rig:
"Mate, 'ere's fantastic country--
loik Texas, except it's big!"

--Timothy Murphy


RELATIVE POSITIONS

Driving down a highway in Vermont,
a friendly Texan stopped to say hello.
The conversation was one-sided, though--
those Yankee folks are sorta reticent.
The Texan pushed his Stetson off his brow
and asked the close-lipped farmer how much land
he held. The farmer spat. "You see thet stand
of elderberry bushes by thet plough?
My land stahts at thet medder ovuh the’uh
runs past thet brook to thet stone fence beyond."
The Texan scratched his neck and said, "I 'll swann!
I've got a spread that I caint drive my truck
acrost in a day." The farmer grinned, "Bad luck.
I used to have a truck just like thet. Ayuh."
--Carol A. Taylor

LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY

"Old Moscowitz is gone – left town!"
The baker said with a puzzled frown.
"I came upon him yesterday,
Already packed and on his way,
And claiming he was fleeing from
'Imminent danger of pogrom.'

"'But can’t you see, I remonstrated
Your fears are...well...exaggerated?
You know we’re liberal here -- that we
Value ethnic diversity.'

"But he would only shake his head,
Smiling sadly. At length he said,
'According to my trusted source
The mob will gather here in force
Next week and wantonly abuse
The city’s barbers and its Jews.'

" 'The barbers, Moscowitz!' I hooted,
But why should they be persecuted?' "

" ‘Yes, everyone in town asks that.
Goodbye,’ he said, and tipped his hat.”
--Christopner Wagner

A BATTLE ACCOUNTED FOR

When one day Molly Grogan walked by, all
Battered and bruised, band-aided, both eyes blacked,
The neighbors asked her had she been attacked.
“Nothing of the kind,” she answered, “Just a small
Friendly misunderstanding. I was going
To the doctor’s with my urine specimen,
When I met that nosey snooper Maggie Gonne.
What have you got in that sack there? she’d be knowing.
Piss in a bottle, says I, and the fight was on.”

--X. J. Kennedy

OVERHEARD ON A BUS

When the bus stops two Italians get on,
and engage in lively conversation
which the lady behind ignores until one
remarks, to her total consternation,

“Emma come first. Denna I come.
Two asses, they come togedder;
I come again, you heara some
pair asses come again. Ledder
I come again and pee-a twice.
Denna I come once-a more."

“You swine, such foul talk isn’t nice,”
the lady gasps, shocked to her core.
“Hey, coola down lady! I jus’ tell Lippi,
my fren’, howa to spell Mississippi.”
--Jim Hayes

OLE AND SVEN JOIN THE NAVY

In World War II, at Uncle Sam's request,
Ole and Sven enlist without complaining.
They pass the naval aviators' test
And go to Pensacola for their training.

Their first time up, with Sven at the controls
They bear down on the Langley for a landing
And are waved off. The carrier yaws and rolls
So badly that no crewmen are left standing.

The fuel gauge nudging zero, they descend.
Sven drops his flaps and yells, "You hang on, Ole!"
They hit the deck hard, skidding to the end.
Sven breathes a sigh and looks around: "By golly,
"That deck, she sure is short enough," he says.
"Ya," Ole says. "But look how wide she is!"
--R. S. Gwynn


THE LIFT

Old Pat hasn't been to the city before,
but he takes young Sean as a birthday gift.
In a high rise building they notice a door
and don't realise they're seeing a lift.
The door slides open; they look inside--
it's empty. An elderly lady steps in
and the door slides shut. They're both surprised
to hear a whirring noise begin.
Atop, they notice the lights start flashing,
then stop; the door rolls open once more--
out steps a model, and she looks smashing
to Pat and Sean with their chins on the floor.
"Tis a wondrous machine," says Pat, "like nae other!
Sean, go home quick and fetch yer mother!"
--Jim Hayes

CLOCKWORK

Mrs. Reilly, Hogan, and Murphy were having a chat;
Mrs. Reilly said, “The biggest problem for me,
is that I wake each morning at seven and at
twenty past I’m still trying to have a pee.”
Mrs. Hogan said the problem for her was worse
and at her age there was no hope for improvement;
when she woke each morning at eight it was a curse
to sit and wait an hour for a bowel movement.
Mrs. Murphy said at seven she pees like a horse
and every morning craps like a cow at eight;
the others said that to them she sounded of course
as though her bodily functions were working great.
“Well I agree my parts are working fine
the problem is I never wake up till nine.”
--Jim Hayes


A TYPICAL DISH

A Texan eating out in Mexico
was in a restaurant and was most ambitious
to try a local dish. “I’d like to know
what that man’s having. It looks quite delicious.”

“Those are testículos— a treat, Señor.
They’re from a bull that’s freshly killed each day.
We only have one fight. The matador
removes them and they’re cooked our special way.

“As that dish has been ordered, I’m afraid
there are no more until tomorrow’s fight
is over.” Hearing this, the Texan made
a booking for the dish the following night.

The next day he was served his special meal
and all was as he had anticipated--
the sizzling meat reminded him of veal;
the sauce so rich that he congratulated

the waiter, saying: “I’ve never had before
a meal so good. The portions, though, I’m curious—
they seemed quite small.” The waiter shrugged, “Señor,
at times the bull can also be victorious.”
--Jim Hayes

OUT CRUISING

Ole and Lena were in his car,
her hand squeezing his thigh.
Her palm slid up his leg so far
his underwear rode high.

Then Lena sighed passionately
"Oh, Ole, I tell you truth,
you can go all the way with me..."
So Ole drove to Duluth.
--Timothy Murphy

THE AUSSIE AND THE ESKIMO

Nanook's had enough of snow and ice,
decides it is time he emigrated.
He searches the map. What's warm and nice?
and finds himself Down-under, elated
to see the Outback stretching so far.
In order to get some miles from town
he buys for himself an old Ford car.
Days into the desert the beast breaks down.
Nanook doesn't know what he should do,
he tries to start the engine--no good,
he's sitting sun-baked and feeling blue,
but an Aussie stops and raises the hood.
"Mate, it looks like you've blown a seal."
"So what? You have your sheep--big deal!"
--Jim Hayes

OUT COURTING
Ole and Lena were going to da bjarn,
da Hjallstrom's bjarn, and da big costume party,
and when dey were traversin da Hjallstrom's fjarm
and crossing hand-in-hand da nortwest forty,

Ole gussied up as an angus bull
and Lena dressed as a cow bound for da fair,
lo and behold! dere was a real bull
pawin da ground and snortin in da air!

"What shall we do?" cried Lena in a fit,
wit never a tree to climb in all dat grass.
"Lena, I'm going to make a run for it,
and as for you, I sugjest you brace your ass."
--Timothy Murphy

THE BALL GAME

A recent Scottish immigrant attends
a baseball game and hears the fans shout "Run"
after a base hit. The excitement sends
Hamish wild: 'Hey mon', he thinks, 'whit fun!'

A batter connects heavily once again.
Hamish leaps to his feet and claps his hands:
"R-r-rrun ya p-r-rick!" He's just sat down, and then
a third batter tips a foul into the stands.

"R-r-run ya bahstard, r-r-run will ya!" The Scot
show off his new-found knowledge of the game.
The next man holds at three and two; there's not
a movement as the Scot yells out the same.

"Are you a fool?" a scoffing neighbor balks,
"he's got four balls--he's getting a free ride!
and with four balls, the umpire says he walks."
The Scotsman stands and roars out, "Walk wi' pr-r-ride!"
--Jim Hayes


VI. Cats, Dogs, Kids, and Other Animals

CUSHIONING THE BLOW

We thought it best to leave the cat with Ted
along with Grandma, when we went away.
No sooner were we home from holiday
than, bluntly, he announced the cat was dead.

“Listen!” I said, “Bad news is better told
obliquely--such as, ‘Bess went climbing on
the roof, and fell. Her legs and back were gone.
They tried to save her but she was too old.’ ”

Ted--who’s direct but not a thoughtless man--
was chastened (so he said) and mortified.
“Don’t worry, Cousin Edward,” I replied.
“We all drop clangers. By the way, how’s Gran?”

“Not great”, he said. “In fact, to tell the truth,
last night she went out climbing on the roof……”
--David Anthony

FAMILY TROUBLES

We had our problems. John, my younger brother,
was burdened by a speech impediment;
and Father (who’d been wounded when he went
to war) had one leg shorter than the other.

John said to him, while battling with his stutter,
“D-D-D-Dad, I do believe I know
a way to fix your limp. W-when you go
out walking, keep w-one foot in the gutter.”

Dad tried it, and he thought he was in clover.
His limp was cured and he was walking well,
till much to his chagrin he tripped and fell.
A bus was passing by and ran him over.

He said, “Your stutter can’t be fixed, Son, but
it helps if you could keep your big mouth shut!”
--David Anthony

ADVICE FOR BEAR COUNTRY

A black or brown will never do you harm
if he can help it. Simply wave your arm
while pointing at him with your walking stick
and shouting "Go away!" Then make a quick
but quiet exit. Go home a different way.
A grizzly, though, might see you as his prey,
and if he does there's no deterring him.
He's mean. He'll disembowel you on a whim.
You'll merely piss him off by shouting "Shoo!"
and pointing your walking stick. He eats those, too.
Three things that you can do for safety's sake:
wear little bells whose noise will gently wake
a sleeping bear before you get too close.
And carry pepper spray. A well-aimed dose
might slow him down, a bit. And watch the ground
for droppings so you'll know if he's around.
His crap is easily recognized. It smells
like pepper and is festooned with little bells.
--Richard Wakefield

NOT WHITTIER

There was a bear with feet just like a boy's.
One day it strayed to where the carver, Chan,
displayed the fabled jewelry and toys
he fashioned from fine teak. A gifted man,
his fame was such that people often came
from far and wide to meet him and possess
a shapely hunk of wood that bore his name.
All men loved his art, the bear no less.
In fact, the bear was so entranced by all
the carvings that he saw, he stole a sack
and raced into the forest to the call
of Chan's assistants, screaming "Bear, come back!"
The bear could hear them shouting as he ran,
"Stop, oh boy-foot bear with teaks of Chan!"
--Robert Schechter

CIRCUS TRY-OUT

"This dog of mine," the man proclaimed, "can talk."
P.T. Barnum said, "My God, that's great!
If what you say is true, the crowds will gawk.
Proceed at once, kind sir, to demonstrate."

The man turned to the dog and said, "What is
the hardest place to hit a golf ball from?"
"Rough!" the dog responded to this quiz.
P.T. Barnum said, "Do I look dumb?"

"No, wait!" the man continued. "Here's more proof.
Rover, tell us what the top part's named
that sits upon a house." The dog barked, "Roof!"
Said P.T. Barnum: "You should be ashamed."

"No, let me try again!" the man cried. "Say,
who's the finest baseball player ever?"
"Ruth!" the dog responded. "Go away!"
said P.T. Barnum. "That's not even clever."

He threw them from his office on their butts.
Stunned, they sat. The man commenced to sob.
The dog said, "It's my fault. I'm such a putz.
I knew the proper answer was ‘Ty Cobb.'"
--Robert Schechter

THE WISDOM OF THE AGES

Because her man was shooting blanks,
a woman, out of desperation,
decided she'd get pregnant thanks
to artificial insemination.
Genetics is a game some win,
some lose; the mother's fate was grim:
she bore a boy so homely, sin
was comely when compared with him.
A neighbor looked. He scratched his head
in wonderment, and then he smiled:
"I guess it proves what grandma said,
'Spare the rod and spoil the child.'"
--Richard Wakefield

TALENTED

O'Reilly brings an octopus one day
into a bar and tells the patrons there
that there's no instrument it cannot play--
percussion, wind, or string--however rare.

All the patrons think this is a hoot,
The octopus is challenged to a test.
"Alright," O'Reilly says, "Go on thin, shoot."
The octopod plays a saxophone with zest.

Accordion, banjo, guitar, piccolo too--
every instrument going it plays with ease,
till Hamish growling, "Here-r-r-re, let me get through!"
gives it his bagpipes. "Git the better-r-r o'these!"

The octopus fumbles a moment and looks confused.
"Ye canna play it," says Hamish- "An' weel Ah knew it!"
"Play it me eye," says the octopus, getting enthused;
"As soon as I get its pajamas off, I'll screw it."
--Jim Hayes

THE PET SHOP

A girl entered a pet shop, saying "I don't have much money,
But I think this is enough, sir, so I'd like to buy a bunny."
"You want a widdle bunny?" asked the man who ran the shop.
"We have bunnies by the basketful, bunnies, hippety-hop!
Come pick your Peter Cottontail! He’s huddled in this hutch.
Do you want an English spotted, or a cuddly-wuddly Dutch?
Or a fluffy Flemish giant, or a fuzzy Jersey wooly?
Or a jaunty jack jackrabbit? An angora wooly-bully?
Or a floppy-woppy French lop, or some handsome Belgian hares?"
The little girl responded, "I don't think my python cares."
--Kevin Andrew Murphy

THE THIRSTY GORILLA
One day a huge gorilla entered Joe's
Bar and Grill and said, "I'll have a beer!"
Joe thought, "I bet that no gorilla knows
the price of things," then said, "You're welcome here,

but drinks cost fifty dollars. Can you pay?
"Of course," the ape replied, and did just that.
"Wonderful," said Joe, "then you can stay."
Joe served the beer and then sat down to chat.

"My friend," he said, "my normal clientele,
though quite diverse, has never been comprised
of jungle beasts like you." The ape said, "Hell!
At fifty bucks a beer, I'm not surprised!"
--Robert Schechter


MULLAH NASRUDIN AND THE PARROT

The Mullah bought a parrot, a wicked evil bird,
Who like all others of its kind, said everything it heard.
Belonging to a sailor, a harlot, and what’s worse,
A poet, this foul bird now spoke its blasphemies in verse:
“O son of twenty infidels who once were billeted
And hosted by a woman who makes water in her bed,
May Allah curse your testicles, your buttocks and your eyes
And the fat of fifty camels make a new home on your thighs.”
In hopes he might reform the bird, he read it the Quran,
Yet still the parrot screeched and cursed as only parrots can:
“May fleas infest your armpit hairs, o husband of a boar!
Your father’s a musician and–” The Mullah heard the door.
His wife was home! His sainted wife! He knew this would displease her,
So Nasrudin took book and bird and hid them in the freezer.
Yet soon the day grew very hot, and nothing would suffice
But that the wife of Nasrudin would have a drink. With ice.
She opened up the freezer door. Beside the frozen turkey,
She saw both parrot and Quran. The first said, herky-jerky,
“M-may Allah keep and b-bless you b-both on this most b-blessed day.
I have reformed, yet m-may I ask, w-what did the t-turkey say?”
--Kevin Andrew Murphy

FAIR IS FOWL

"I'm bored," Jack told the madame, "of your women.
And yet I am not gay and don't want men.
Is there a room I might indulge my whim in
to sample something different now and then?"

"I know just what you mean," the madame told him.
"Go up the stairs, the first door on your right,
and you'll find what you want." Her promise sold him.
Eagerly he bounded up the flight

and burst into the room the madame spoke of.
And there he found a chicken! Ten feet tall!
At first he thought that he'd been made a joke of,
but then he thought, "It's different, after all. . . ."

The next day he returned and said, "Though I
enjoyed the chicken, is there something new
and different that it's worth my while to try?
The madame answered, "Try door number two."

So Jack went up the stairs and tried the door
the brothel's friendly madame recommended.
There was no chicken this time, that's for sure,
just six or seven old men who attended

a boring show that took place just behind
a one-way mirror: women making love.
He watched a bit but, sadly, did not find
the kinky pleasure he'd been dreaming of.

He told a nearby man, "What can I say?
There's nothing here to make my heartbeat quicken."
"That's true," the man replied, "but yesterday
you could have watched some nutcase fuck a chicken!"
--Robert Schechter



VII. Poems of Thrift and Probity

SHARING

The Scottish Sergeant-Major
strode into a pharmacy,
slapped down a ruptured condom,
and quoth “Noo answer me,

hoo much to hiv it repaired?
Laddie, tell me noo.”
The store assistant blurted
“It’s not a thing we do.

We’ve new ones here aplenty
unburst, in packets of three -
five dollars for a trio.”
“Ye hivna answered me!

How much tae hiv it repaired?”
“Well there’s a tire shop…
they vulcanize. Its rough
but only two dollars a pop.”

“I’ll be back wi’ ma decision
in the morning withoot doot.”
He strutted out. At daybreak
he thumped back, boot by boot:

“I’ve come wi’ ma decision.”
“Oh sir, our ears are bared.”
“The Regiment’s decided
they want tae hiv it repaired.”
--John Beaton

BILL OF FARE

Jock and Isaac are having a lavish meal
and all is most enjoyable until
the waiter calls and one of them says “Weel,
Ah dinna care the cost Ah’ll pay the bill.”

The next day’s headlines were seven inches tall;
“Jewish Ventriloquist Killed in Café Brawl!”
--Jim Hayes

THE LOTTERY

Poor Jock, who’s going bust and losing all,
decides to try the lottery; on his knees
in desperation he gives God a call,
“I’ve lost my wee bit store. Dear Fither, please,
if Ah dinna get some money I’ll lose my hoose.”
The lottery comes, but some one else has won.
Jock prays again; “Dear God, Ah’m going to lose
my car as weel, and now my wife has gone.”
But still he has no luck, and tries once more.
“God, Ah lost my business, my hoose, my wife;
my bairns are starving; I dinna ask before
an’ Ah’ve been a servant to Ye all my life.”
The voice of God then thunders; “Jock— go stick it—
you could’ve bought yourself a bloody ticket.”
--Jim Hayes


SCALPED

Pat and Mick were in the old Wild West,
both were broke, but entering Dodge City
they saw an ad that offered them the best
chance to supplement their meagre kitty.
A buck for every redskin you can get!
Straight away they head back on the trail;
for days they search--no Indian is met;
their pot is empty and their spirits fail.
Of luck or fortune not the slightest bit
has come their way, they're tired and have enough,
but just as they decide it's time to quit
ten thousand braves appear upon a bluff.
“Praise be to God!” both cry, “There go our cares,
the two of us are surely millionaires!”
--Jim Hayes


BLOWING OUT THE CANDLE

Jock was ill and fit to pass away;
by his bed a candle burned discreetly.
His wife was going out; she turned to say,
“I’ll no be lang awa, noo hear me reetly;
if ye should thenk ye're deein' noo p’raps
ye’d mind to blaw the candle oot, d’ye hear?”

Jock recovered, but then he had a lapse,
and again was going bad— the end was near.
The wife began preparing for the worse;
the smell of potted meat reached poor Jock’s nose;
“Meg, “he cried “ some grub would ease this curse—
Could I tak’ some o’ that, do ye suppose?
“Ye’ll dae naething o’the kind”, she said, “a’tall.
Ye ken reet weel that’s for the funeral.“
--Jim Hayes

LAST CALL

One day a barnstormer lands beside
Jock and his wife, and the pilot says,
"Jock, do ye yearn to go for a ride?
Five pounds I'll charge." Said Jock; "No ways,
tis far too dear." "Well here's what I'll do,"
says the pilot, "Instead of charging ten pound
I'll charge for the baith o' ye nothing for two
as long as I hear ye make no sound."
"Reet," says Jock and away they flew.
They looped the loop, they dove like a bird;
the pilot tried every trick he knew,
but Jock and the wife never uttered a word.
"Ye're braw," said the Pilot. "I thought ye'd shout.”
"Twas close," said Jock, "when herself fell out!"
--Jim Hayes

TO DIE FOR

Aunt Bessie has a talent: when she bakes,
the flavour drives you wild. My cousins say
that Uncle Tim, a regular gourmet,
married her for love - of chocolate cakes.

Poor Timothy was feeling far from well –
in fact, was on his deathbed - when the scent
of baking half-revived him. Off he went
to find the source of that seductive smell.

Each step was painful, as he tottered down
to taste the treat. At last his feeble hand
grasped hungrily. Bess slapped it sharply and
dismissed him with an irritated frown:

“Clear off to bed, and put the buns back too.
I made them for the funeral, not for you.”
--David Anthony

KEEPING TO A SCHEDULE

Brian was punctilious with time.
Each day he woke at seven fifty-five,
brushed his teeth by seven fifty-nine,
quickly showered, dressed, and would arrive
at nine-o-seven to catch the nine-o-eight
ferry boat for his commute to work.

One day it happened. Brian woke up late.
He fell into a frenzy, went berserk,
skipped his shower, cursed the extra sleep,
and sprinted to the pier to see his ship
six feet off the dock! He took a leap,
crashed onto the deck and broke his hip.

"He's mad!" the captain cried, confused and shocked.
"In just another minute, we'd have docked!"
--Robert Schechter


VIII. Is It Whiskey that Ales Ye?

EPITAPH

Here lie the remains of Mickey McGuire,
now buying a round for the Heavenly Choir.
As one of Mickey’s last requests
a bottle was poured here where he rests
by friends afflicted with the thirst,
who passed it through their bladders first.
--Jim Hayes

A GOOD END

Mick worked in the brewery alongside Pat,
but one day as he walked upon the edge,
he slipped and fell into a Guinness vat.
‘Tis well, thought Pat, he didn't take the pledge.
Someone had to go and break the news
to Mick’s wife. Pat was chosen for the chore.
“Are ye the widow Reilly?” was the ruse
employed to tell her gently at the door.
“O tell me that he didn’t suffer there!
He was a good man, was me husband Mick,”
she said to Pat, “An’ ‘tis me fervent prayer
the end came to him merciful an’ quick.”
“Tis sad I am,” said Pat, “to tell ye this—
the truth is Mick got out three times to piss.”
--Jim Hayes

UNDER THE WEATHER

I went to see the doctor since
I wasn’t feeling fit.
My head was hurting and my hands
were shaking quite a bit.
He asked me if I drank a lot
(the nosy little git).
I answered, “No, in fact I spill
the greater part of it.”
--David Anthony

HOME LATE

Finnegan, out drinking with two mates,
becomes a little bit the worse for wear,
so they link him home to where herself awaits—
and she is boiling mad and fit to tear.

“Are youse the Missus Finnegan?” they begin.
“Ye spalpeen blackguards know full well ‘tis me!”
“Would ye mind then tellin’ which is Finnegan—
so’s the other two can go home to our tea?”
--Jim Hayes

THE SNATCH

The bar has closed; the hour is getting late,
and Patrick has his car keys in his hand;
he staggers round the road in parlous state,
a danger to himself and all Ireland.
Two cops approach and ask “Where is your car?”
“Right here,” says Pat, “just where the key end stops.”
“Begorr,” they say. “You won’t get very far--
there’s no car there.” “Tis stolen! Call the cops!”
cries Pat, who flails about and props a wall.
Then one cop cautions Patrick that he’s lewd;
his zip is open wide, displaying all—
poor Pat looks down and sees his fly unglued.
“Dear God,” he cries. “Don’t tell me this is true—
the bastards went and took me girl friend too!”
--Jim Hayes

BEARING THE NEWS

She heard the sound of banging at the door:
“Are you the Widow Murphy?” Jimmy cried.
“They call me Mrs. Murphy, that’s for sure,
but no, I ain’t no widow,” she replied.
Says Jim, “That may have been a fact before;
but take a look what’s on me cart outside.”
--David Anthony

IN A VILLAGE PUB

Scully bought three pints of ale each night
and sat alone in silence, sipping one
and then the next and then the next. When done
he'd nod "good eve" and go his way, polite.

When asked about his eccentricity,
"Me brothers Pat and Mike have emigrated,"
Scully said, "but though we're separated
it's like they're at the table here with me."

The sentimental pub-folk, teary eyed,
were charmed at such a loving thing to do.
And then one night he ordered only two.
The pub fell silent. Pat or Mike had died!

The pub man said what all of them were thinking:
"We're sad to learn that Pat or Mike has died."
Scully looked confused, and then replied,
"It's just me wife. She's made me give up drinking."
--Richard Wakefield

VINTAGE

A patron in a bar demands a shot
of scotch, saying it must be twelve years old.
The barman serves a two-year, thinks "There's not
a chance he'll know the age of what I've sold."
The patron spits it out and shouts "You bozo!
I said a twelve-year-old." Still unimpressed
the barman serves a six-year-old, but no go;
the patron has the same reaction. Lest
he's sued, the barman serves the proper year.
Satisfied at last, the patron drinks.
O'Brien watching, sends down a drink, says "Here
drink thish, mishter, and tell me what ye thinks."
"It tastes like piss," the patron shoots back. "Why,
it ish" O'Brien says. "How old am I?"

--Jim Hayes


THE LOCAL

Pat, Luigi, and Ivan, the endless shift
complete, debate on where to quench their thirst;
“O’Toole’s,” says Pat, “will give us all a gift--
a pint of Guinness. We should go there first.”

“That’s good,” Luigi says. “But at Baldini’s
we’d get another round for free the third
time one of us sang out for more martinis.”
“Well, that sounds great!" says Ivan, “but I’ve heard

at Gouvstof’s we can drink for free all night—
anything that we’d like. We’d have it made,
and when the night was up we’d all be tight,
and in the parking lot we’d all get laid.”

“Begorr,” says Pat, “That’s too good to ignore!
Sure passin’ a place like that would be a crime—
Ivan, yer sure—have ye been there before?”
“Niet, but my wife goes there all the time.”
--Jim Hayes


DOUBLE TROUBLE

A young man sat in an Irish bar in Boston;
another came in and said, “How do ye do?”
The first man said, “Hey, barkeep! Bring me anither one
an’ give me friend from Ireland a whiskey too.

“Which are yez from?” “Begorr I hails from Clare.”
“Be the saints, but I comes from that very place—
which town would it be now?” “Tis near Adare.”
“I knows it well! Hey, barkeep, anither brace.

“Tell me now, do ye know O’Connell Street?”
“Know it? Sure, I was born right there an' raised!”
“Bejaypers, ‘tis a miracle we should meet--
I was born there meself, the Lord be praised!”

The barkeep sighed— the circumstance was plain;
The Reilly twins were getting drunk again.
--Jim Hayes

MISSING SCHOOL
Grogan, having a drink in the bar,
is approached by a gent who’s clearly gay;
the bartender, watching, wonders how far
the two will proceed, but they both go away
together. The next day Grogan comes back;
the bartender, curious, asks what occurred;
"We goes to his flat, he takes a quare tack,-
'I've been a bold boy' is the strange ting I heard.
"I looks an' he's wearing a school uniform
wid a cane in his hand. 'Now spank me' sez he,
'for missing school when there wasn't no storm.'”
"Go on!" says the barkeep excitedly.
"Well, I'll tell ye this, an' I've no more to say--
be jaypers he didn't miss school today!"
--Jim Hayes
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Old 07-20-2002, 06:31 AM
Tim Murphy Tim Murphy is offline
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All the new material we've incorporated in this draft is very strong; and in point of fact, I'm now confident that we have a distinguished book, wacky though it may be. Whoddu thunk it?
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Old 07-20-2002, 09:12 AM
Jim Hayes Jim Hayes is offline
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When the Classic Jokes- Versified concept was first mooted by Tim Murphy, I jumped at the chance to participate. Jokes, in their many forms, were an important part of the story-telling tradition in many cultures and the idea to versify the best and codify them was nothing short of brilliant, and in the words of X.J.Kennedy- “An idea whose time had come” Quite.

Many of the jokes I’ve versified were ones I’d heard from my father and which I, in turn, have told to my children, some I’d heard in pubs (perhaps most, if I’m to be totally truthful) and others were picked up from books, the internet even, and God knows where else.

Joking as a family fireside recreation is, of course, long gone and the art of joke telling itself is fast being relegated to the stand-up comic and the locker room.
Jokes themselves, have far too often deteriorated into the “How many electricians does it take…or There was an Irishman, an Englishman and a..” variety.

Where I was concerned I tried to avoid these unless there was something very inherently quixotic or very funny about them. I also tried to avoid jokes which were racist or given to ethnic slurs. Stereotyping cannot be avoided, but it can be done in a fun manner, and personally I loved the opportunity to indulge in the old Irish and Scottish dialects which have disappeared in the United States and have all but done so in Ireland and Scotland- more’s the pity.

The great gift of jokes is that they give us the opportunity to laugh at ourselves and invite others to join in our fun.

This collection of jokes, many of which I have never heard before, embraces many cultures, and encompasses varieties of humor unlikely to be encountered anywhere else. It is unfailingly funny as well as being original and well crafted in presentation.

I am proud and privileged to be part of this communion of very fine poets and story tellers and am most appreciative of the enormous part played in bringing it to fruition by Tim Murphy and Carol Taylor.

Thanks to ye both and and to all me confederate poets;

Jim Hayes
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Old 07-20-2002, 01:05 PM
Richard Wakefield Richard Wakefield is offline
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Jim: Me, too. I wrote my bear poem as a gift to one of my daughters, then showed it to Tim because, well, because he seemed likely to take delight in it. Of course, he had already written many fine joke poems of his own. But all the way through this project, it seems to me, delight has been the driving force and delight has been the consistent result. To paraphrase Frost: "No delight in the writer, no delight in the reader." Whatever comes of this project, we (all the contributors) have already been repaid handsomely.
Life can be grim. We owe ourselves and others a little something to leaven the gravity of things.
RPW
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Old 07-20-2002, 02:17 PM
Carol Taylor Carol Taylor is offline
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I'm delighted to have had a chance to participate in this unique project! We have produced an anthology I believe many people will read and enjoy, even people who don't often read poetry, and in doing so we have proved that you don't have to be a light weight to write light verse. Our contributors are accomplished poets who write serious poetry as well as light verse. They have turned their talents to producing a remarkably funny collection.

Our goal in writing these poems (and Tim's and mine in selecting and editing them) was threefold. First, we looked for jokes that made us laugh. Second, we insisted that the poem be as good as the joke. And finally, we tried to make the finished product better than the sum of its parts. I believe we have succeeded beyond even our own expectations. Our writers have combined the fluency of natural story-tellers with the craft of poets to produce an entertaining and varied collection, perhaps the first of its kind.

I feel proud to be included in such distinguished company. My thanks to Tim Murphy for coming up with an excellent idea and making it happen, and for letting me come along for the ride. What a fun bunch of people poets are!

Carol Taylor


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Old 07-20-2002, 03:42 PM
Tim Murphy Tim Murphy is offline
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Friends, I think we have a book. Allow me some reminiscence. Wakefield sent me his Bears 45 days or so ago, and I decided to post it with my Pig and David Anthony's Cat on Mastery. About a week later, I joked: What have I started, an anthology? Schecter (Slater) and Hayes began by writing light verse, but quickly caught on to the notion of versifying classic jokes. Then everyone piled into the scrum. Beaton, more Wakefield, Renate, Chris W, etc., etc. Joe Kennedy and Sam Gwynn, our living masters of light verse! Then, most blessedly of all, our Duchess showed up, and that just as the task of organizing this thing was spiraling out of control. Coulda hired a secretary, but not one who could edit our metrical infelicities and contribute half a dozen of our most accomplished poems. Thanks to all of you, friends, I think we have a book.
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Old 07-20-2002, 07:35 PM
Kevin Andrew Murphy Kevin Andrew Murphy is offline
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Thanks to Tim and Carol for editing this, and Jim for giving me the nudge to submit something.

A very fun anthology, and good company to keep.

Any nibbles from a publisher yet? Aside from the Light Quaterly coup, that is?

Kevin

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Old 07-21-2002, 05:32 AM
Tim Murphy Tim Murphy is offline
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Kevin, I'm delighted that one of our newbies joined the game in time to contribute two such fine poems. Joe Terry, head of literature at Longman, assures me that he will secure us a publisher. I fed-exed him three copies of V yesterday.
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Old 07-21-2002, 09:46 AM
Tim Murphy Tim Murphy is offline
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I wrote the Forward weeks ago, and I've substantially expanded it to acknowledge the key roles played by many of you in the genesis of this manuscript:

Introduction by Timothy Murphy

Able Muse is an ezine devoted to metrical poetry, the creation of the very dedicated Alex Pepple. Its affiliate, Eratosphere, is an immense on-line poetry workshop. Our thousands of visitors include everybody from raw beginners to the likes of Robert Mezey and Anthony Hecht.

One of our boards is Musing on Mastery, presided over in the course of its existence by Alan Sullivan, yours truly, and the gifted young poet, A. E. Stallings. Contemporary verse is rarely posted there, unless it’s by Wilbur, Hecht, or other very well established poets. But one day, for a lark, I posted a thread called Classic Jokes, which included “Cushioning the Blow,” a sonnet I loved by my English friend, David Anthony. I also posted my “Peg-leg Pig,” and "Advice for Bear Country,” which Richard Wakefield had just sent me from Seattle. The response was overwhelming. Ireland’s Jim Hayes and New York’s Bob Schechter began pelting me with crackerjacks. A few days later, I joked “What have I started, an anthology?” Versified jokes came pouring in from Canada, Scotland, England, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and last but not least, the United States. X.J. Kennedy and R.S. Gwynn, whom I do not blush to call living masters of light (and heavy) verse, contributed.

Just as the manuscript was spinning out of control, Carol Taylor joined the fray. Carol is the Eratosphere’s most senior staffer and a word-processing whizz. She contributed her own hilarious verses and helped me organize this pile of paper, internet postings, and email into book form. From hundreds of submissions, we have selected the best versifications of the worst jokes.
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Old 07-21-2002, 06:08 PM
Carol Taylor Carol Taylor is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Houston, TX, USA
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I've made the latest changes to Draft # 5 and will go topside now and rename it Draft # 5.2. If possible, I'll do it that way from now on, since it takes a couple of hours to reformat a new draft with UBB and html codes, and that doesn't even include getting them in the right places. I appreciate the proof-reading, folks. Let me know if you spot anything wrong or have questions.

Carol


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