(by Eric Shansby)

In my ongoing effort to lose readers,
I now once again present that feature
you all hate, Old Jokes Retold as
Great Poems.

Three Hells, in the style of a Shakespearean sonnet

Bill Clinton dies and finds that he is pinned

Within a room of carcasses that smell.

A hollow voice booms: “Billy, you have sinned,

And for all time it’s here that you shall dwell.”

When Bush the younger dies, his tender feet

Must tread on broken glass, which causes pain.

Again the voice, “Hey, Georgie, for your sin

It’s in this room you must fore’er remain.”

When Cheney corks, he, too, is in a room

But his accommodations seem quite choice.

Inside, a famous actress, in full bloom,

Lies naked in a bed! Now booms the voice:

(So quick it comes that Dick still has his pants on)

“You have sinned, you scarlet woman, Ms. Johansson.”


The Maid’s Raise, in the style of “The Boy Stood on the Burning Deck”
by Felicia Dorothea Hemans

The maid stood on the backyard deck

Whence she began to speak:

“I want,” she said, “a larger check

For work I do each week.”

Her mistress asked, “Pray tell me why

You merit that from me.”

The servant smiled to be so tasked:

“I’ll give you reasons three.

“First,” she said, “I clean the house

Far better than do thee.

This fact I know because your spouse

Told it direct to me.

Now, reason two is that I do

A better meal than thee.

Again, ’twas madame’s husband who

Told it direct to me.

I blush to mention reason three

For fear I go too far.

But one more way I better thee:

In skills of the boudoir.”

Into a rage the mistress flew,

(She was hissing, like a cat.)

“I suppose it was my husband who

Presumed to tell you that?”

“It wasn’t, ma’am,” the maid replied,

“ ’Twas the gardener who spake.”

The mistress drew her purse and sighed —

“How much ya wanna make?”


The Lawyer’s Dilemma, in the style of “The Road
Not Taken” by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged for Harold Wood

Of Wood & Whitson, men of law.

And long he stared and long he stood —

Weighing bad and weighing good,

About the quandary in his paw.

For widow Jones he’d drawn a will,

And from her purse of Spanish leather

She took a hundred-dollar bill

Which was his fee. But he grew still —

Two bills, he saw, were stuck together.

And so it was that Wood now saw

A dilemma of a moral kind

(So often faced by men of law)

So he just sat and set his jaw

And played it all out in his mind.

Perched he was on this abyss,

Not wanting to be thought a schmuck,

Or make a move that was amiss

You see, it all came down to this:

Should he tell his partner of his luck?