Rhyme and punishment

Gene Weingarten on

WASHINGTON -- Good news. It is time for more "pokes" / which are poems retelling old jokes.

Stan and the Rabbi, retold as a Shakespearean sonnet

Oh rabbi, Stan is here with troubling news:

"My son, to whom I've taught the Jewish ways,

Just said to me that he has Christian views

And Christian will he be for all his days!"

"It's funny, Stanley, that you came to me

For with my son I've known the selfsame pain:

While raised a Jew, a Christian now is he!

This thing has nearly driven me insane."

"Whose counsel, then, did you, my rabbi, seek

To talk about your son's distressing choice?"

"Well, God Himself's with whom I chose to speak!"

"And what said He? What comforts did He voice?"

The rabbi paused, and smiled, and slapped his knee.

"God said, 'It's funny that you came to me ... '"

The Philosopher's Stoned, retold as a limerick

At a Paris saloon known as Cheers,

A famed thinker is offered some beers.

Already on pot,

Rene says, "I think not,"

And promptly Descartes ... disappears.

Three Slugs, retold as an 18th-century ballad

Buy me some hooch and I'll tell of a guy

Who orders his drinks in threes.

Always the same: Three shots of rye,

In silence. No shootin' the breeze.

One day I says, "Buddy, what is it with these?"

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He looks right at me and he winks.

"Two brothers I've got. They're at war overseas.

It's with them that I'm sharing these drinks."

But yesterday evening, the guy orders two,

Which fills me with very grave doubt.

I asks him real gently, "How goes it with you?

Has somebody's luck just run out?"

He laughs for a bit and then takes a big slug

And stares back at me, quite unblinking.

"My brothers are fine. They're both warm and snug,

It's merely that I have quit drinking."

The Lady and the Dog, retold as a triple iambic quatrain

A man and a dog were outside one night

When up walked a lady, who, after a while

Asked of the man, "Does your doggy bite?"

"Never," he said with a confident smile.

The lady got down in a bit of a crouch

And patted the fellow right under his chin.

A few seconds later, she screamed out an "OUCH!"

As canine sunk canine deep into her skin.

Recoiling in horror, the lady then spoke:

"Your dog didn't bite, you said!" (She was agog.)

The man shrugged his shoulders, took a drag on his smoke

"The thing is," he said slowly, "that isn't my dog."


Gene Weingarten can be reached at Follow him on Twitter, @geneweingarten. Chat with him online Tuesdays at noon Eastern at

(c) 2017, The Washington Post Writers Group


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