Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE TRAGEDY OF PETE, by JOSEPH SEAMON COTTER JR.

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE TRAGEDY OF PETE, by                
First Line: There was a man
Last Line: From his head to his feet.

There was a man
Whose name was Pete,
And he was a buck
From his head to his feet.

He loved a dollar,
But hated a dime;
And so was poor
Nine-tenths of the time.

The Judge said, "Pete
What of your wife?"
And Pete replied:
"She lost her life."

"Pete," said the Judge,
"Was it lost in a row?
Tell me quick,
And tell me how."

Pete straightened up
With a hic and a sigh,
Then looked the Judge
Full in the eye.

"O, Judge, my wife
Would never go
To a Sunday dance
Or a movie show.

"But I went, Judge,
Both day and night,
And came home broke
And also tight.

"The moon was up,
My purse was down,
And I was the bully
Of the bootleg town.

"I was crooning a lilt
To corn and rye
For the loop in my legs
And the fight in my eye.

"I met my wife;
She was wearing a frown,
And catechising
Her Sunday gown.

"'O, Pete, O Pete,'
She cried aloud,
'The Devil is falling
Right out of a cloud.'

"I looked straight up
And fell flat down,
And a Ford machine
Pinned my head to the ground.

"The Ford moved on,
And my wife was in it;
And I was sober
That very minute.

"For my head was bleeding,
My heart was a-flutter;
And the moonshine within me
Was tipping the gutter.

"The Ford, it faster
And faster sped
Till it dipped and swerved
And my wife was dead.

"Two bruised men lay
In a hospital ward --
One seeking vengeance,
The other the Lord.

"He said to me:
'Your wife was drunk,
You are crazy,
And my Ford is junk.'

"I raised my knife
And drove it in
At the top of his head
And the point of his chin.

"O Judge, O Judge,
If the State has a chair,
Please bind me in it
And roast me there."

There was a man
Whose name was Pete,
And he welcomed death
From his head to his feet.

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