The Poetry Crisis Line tries to stay out of politics, but sometimes politicians won’t stay out of poetry. So after Ken Cuccinelli, Acting Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, suggested corrections to “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus (aka, the “Statue of Liberty Poem”), we asked Mr. Cuccinelli if there were any other classic poems he’d like to rewrite. He gave us the following:
Give me your tired, your poor who can stand on their own two feet
and who will not become a public charge.
William Carlos Williams†
I have eaten
that were in
they coud not
they were lazy
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Water, water everywhere
But not a drop to drink
Unless you can afford to pay
For access to the sink
Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright
In the forest of the night,
If you come here to the States,
You’d better sell some Frosted Flakes.
*Mr Cuccinelli’s suggested revision.
†We made the rest of these up.
COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?
CALLER: My wife’s new pink slippers
have gay pom-poms.
COUNSELOR: Is it any of your business? And how can you tell?
CALLER: There is not a spot or a stain
on their satin toes or their sides.
COUNSELOR: Hmm. But they could be metrosexual.
CALLER: All night they lie together
under her bed’s edge.
COUNSELOR: OK, that’s more convincing. But slippers just stay together.
CALLER: Shivering I catch sight of them
CALLER: and smile,
COUNSELOR: I’m glad you’re comfortable with it. But please don’t watch them. They may want their privacy.
Read the original here
I seem to have eaten the plums
you were saving ’til morningtime comes–
so sweet, and so cold.
So, now that we’re old,
forgive me for acting so dumb?
COUNSELOR Poetry Crisis Line. What is your emergency?
CALLER: I have eaten / the plums / that were in / the icebox…
COUNSELOR: This is the Poetry Crisis Line, sir. did you want Poison Control?
CALLER: …and which / you were probably / saving / for breakfast.
COUNSELOR: Did you mean to call the cafeteria? I can transfer you.
CALLER: Forgive me.
COUNSELOR: I’m not here to judge you, sir. What’s important is that you forgive yourself.
CALLER: They were delicious…
COUNSELOR: I’m glad to hear it.
CALLER: …so sweet…
COUNSELOR: And how this is a problem, sir?
CALLER: …and so cold.
COUNSELOR: I see. If the plums are too cold, you could try eating other types of fruit–if you feel you’re up for it. Do you dare to eat a peach?