In olden times, it could be decades before major events were cast in verse. But The Great 2000 Election Controversy is so big that all-star poets have come out of retirement to quickly set the story to rhyme….
For starters, history buff Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
Listen, my children, don't dare ignore,
The midnight actions of Bush and Gore
In early November, the year ought-ought,
Hard to believe the mess they wrought.
Two billion bucks of campaign bounty
All came down to Palm Beach County.
What result could have been horrider
Than the situation we found in Florider?
Edgar Allen Poe is his usual gloomy self:
Once upon a campaign dreary, one which left us weak and weary
O’er many a quaint and curious promise of political lore
While we nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a yapping,
As of some votes overlapping, energy-zapping to the core
“‘Tis a mess here,” we all muttered, as the network anchors stuttered,
Stuttered over Bush and Gore.
Could there be another election with such a case of misdirection,
One with such a weak selection, yet fraught with tension to the core?
Quoth the ravers, “Nevermore.”
Britain’s Edward Lear’s limerick is lighter:
There once was a U.S. election
That called for some expert detection –
How thousands of pollers
Could become two-holers
Like outhouses of recollection.
Ditto Ogden Nash:
I regret to admit that all my knowledge is
What I learned at Electoral Colleges,
So tell me please, though I hate to troubya,
Will the winner be Al, or will it be Dubya?
Joyce Kilmer’s a media analyst:
I thought that I would never see
The networks all so up a tree.
Walt Whitman is lyrical, as always:
O’ Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip’s not done
The ship has weathered every rack, but nobody knows who’s won.
Alfred Noyes rhythmically rumbles:
And still of an autumn night they say, with the White House on the line,
When the campaign's a ghostly galleon and both candidates cry, “‘Tis mine!”
When the road is a ribbon of ballots, all within easy reach,
A highwayman comes riding,
A highwayman comes riding, and punches two holes in each.
Dr. Seuss takes a look at election officials:
I cannot count them in a box
I cannot count them with a fox
I cannot count them by computer
I will not with a Roto-Rooter
I cannot count them card-by-card
I will not ’cause it’s way too hard
I cannot count them on my fingers
I will not while suspicion lingers.
I’ll leave the country in a jam –
I can’t count ballots, Sam-I-Am.
Clement Moore adopts a holiday theme:
‘Twas the month before Christmas, when all through the courts,
All the plaintiffs made stirring bad ballot reports.
Which leaves the problem:
Perhaps the best way to stop complaints that are raucous is
Start all over again, with the Iowa caucuses.