From today’s Style Invitational, where entrants were asked to rewrite banal instructions in the style of a famous writer:
O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke,
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from Heavens yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the poke — banish now thy doubt
Verily, I say, ’tis what it’s all about.
— by William Shakespeare
(Jeff Brechlin, Potomac Falls)
Remove this tag!
— pillow warning, rewritten by Abbie Hoffman
(Charles Havekost, Vienna)
This warning issues from a model modern Surgeon-general
Who wishes that your stay on Earth might be not so ephemeral
As mascot Joe, that smoking
hyperactive dromedary who
Succumbed to fatal illness, cardiac and pulmonary too . . .
— Gilbert and Sullivan rewrite the tobacco-pack warning
(Stephen Fahey, Kensington, and Jeff Brechlin, Potomac Falls)
If you notice in this vicinity,
Furtive glances, unattended ticking packages, unauthorized entry into limited access areas, or any other suspicious actinnity,
Please remember that our alert level is orange,
And err on the side of caution, report transgressions to an appropriate authority and help prevent acts of terrorism from an evildoer domestic or foringe.
— Notification of terrorism alert level, by Ogden Nash.
(Dan Steinberg, Falls Church)
A gauzy Skein of Propylene —
That sways with slightest Breath —
This bag holds smocks — and Bread and Milk
But — in its folds — lies Death.
It sways and puffs — this Thistledown, Balloonlike in its joy —
Each tiny mouth a perfect fit — This bag is not a toy.
— Emily Dickinson
(Jim Roy Wilson, Washington)