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Friday, March 28, 2008

378. Washington Post Invitational, week 748

Our annual contest in which we seek poems about those who died in the previous year:

Jerry Falwell:
Not for being greatly good --
Not because he knew he would --
Jerry Falwell's gone above,
Unto his Creator's love,
Spending every night and day
With angels black and angels gay.
God our Father knows us all well;
Knows what's Hell for Jerry Falwell.
( David Smith, Santa Cruz, Calif.)

Lady Bird Johnson:
Jackie's successor, a rather plain dresser,
Was viewed by the press as much duller.
For Lady Bird's way to enliven our day
Was for highways to sparkle with color.
A political wife, she spent most of her life
With a blind eye to what Hubby sinned in.
But on her ranch, though it slanted,
She successfully planted
Seven oak trees, four elms and one Lyndon.
(Christopher Lamora, Arlington)

Molly Ivins:
Enjoy a calm retirement, Dubya;
Molly's not around to "Shrub" ya. (David Smith)

Luciano Pavarotti:
At last Pavarotti is resting in peace.
He'd let himself go, and it showed.
Let's face it, the guy had become so obese,
He had his own aria code.
(Brendan Beary)

Phil Rizzuto:
For Scooter, the years have exacted their toll.
Now this Hall of Fame shortstop plays deep in the hole.
(Chris Doyle, Ponder, Tex.)

Wally Schirra:
Bravely flew through space to probe it;
Circled Earth, is now in obit.
Broke the bonds of life unhampered
And, you can be sure, un-Pampered.
(Beverley Sharp, Washington)

Now Ike Turner's off the street;
They say he never missed a beat.
(Beverley Sharp)

When Helen Walton, 87,
Knocks upon the gates of Heaven,
Sam, her husband, not Saint Peter,
Stands inside to meet and greet her.
(Chris Doyle)

Leona Helmsley:
The Queen of Mean bought fine hotels,
Got taxing time in jailhouse cells.
Bought stuff to give the Palace charm.
Bought Trouble. Now she's bought the farm.
(Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church)

Higgledy piggledy
Evel Knievel, a
Vaulter of canyons, a
Dude with a past.
Switching mechanics and
Flying with Jesus, he
Jumped to conclusions:
Grounded at last.
(Coilin Owens, Alexandria, Va., a First Offender)

Al Oerter, discus champion
Gold medals in Tokyo, Melbourne and Rome,
And Mexico City as well;
It seemed that for Al, the top platform was home;
He always found ways to excel.
The other competitors always looked sad
To nearby observant reporters;
It's not that their own throws were anything bad --
They only were following Oerter's.
(Brendan Beary)


Mstislav Rostropovich:
A whiz of a conductor and a master on the cello,
A caring friend who never put on airs, despite his fame.
There's just one nasty trait we can attribute to the fellow:
Sadistically insisting that we call him by his name.
(Brendan Beary)

Anna Nicole Smith:
The drugs, the dads, the tabloid press;
They all left Anna cold;
But she's still hot in Peter's Book
'Cause she's the centerfold.
(Kevin Dopart, Washington)

Marcel Marceau and Washoe the chimp:
Two who uttered not a word
Last year got themselves interred.
Washoe couldn't "speak," although
He got on like Marcel Marceau.
Gestures and gesticulations
Were, for both, communications.
There's one distinction to impart:
Chimps are science, frogs are art.
(Brendan Beary)

Rex Humbard, Tammy Faye Bakker and Jerry Falwell (and Ike Turner, Kurt Waldheim and Leona Helmsley)
In Heaven just the other day,
The dear departed Tammy Faye
Ran into her old acquaintance Rex.
Said the former Mrs. Bakker,
"It's so nice to meet our Maker,
Though I'm quite bewildered and perplexed.
There's Ike Turner playing blues,
And Kurt Waldheim helping Jews,
Even Mrs. Helmsley being merry.
But I've inspected everywhere,
And I've found neither hide nor hair
Of our former colleague Reverend Jerry."
(Dave Zarrow, Herndon)

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