Rehashing History: The Still Legendary Lizzie Borden
"Lizzie Borden took an ax
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one."
Whoever wrote this jump-rope song
About Lizzie Borden got it wrong.
Though she did give her stepmom ax whacks aplenty,
By the coroner's count there were no more than twenty.
Then before anyone could scold her or scoff,
Lizzie took her little hatchet,
And whacked her daddy off.
And how many love taps sent Papa to heaven?
The doc thought maybe ten,
No, better make that eleven.
What made Lizzie do it,
What caused her to snap?
Was she simply fed up with her family's crap?
Was stepmother's embrace somewhat less than maternal,
And her dad's fond caress somewhat more than paternal?
Then, of course, there's her sister who saved her from grief
When she helped her burn evidence,
And then on the witness stand raised her right hand
And very politely lied through her teeth.
The inquest was heated,
And though she changed hers often,
Liz was well-alibied.
All through the trial she sat calm and unmoved
And was finally acquitted, her guilt never proved.
Now all these years later her legend lives on,
Of the usual suspects she's still number one.
When I read about Lizzie I have often opined,
If she had been musically,
As well as murderously, inclined,
I wonder if Miz Liz would still be so well-known
If her "axe"* had been a saxophone.
*Slang musical term for an instrument such as a saxophone or guitar.
Copyright © Jim Slaughter | Year Posted 2022
Poetrysoup is an environment of encouragement and growth so only provide specific positive comments that indicate what you appreciate about the poem.
to post a comment