« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Bob Lind, Published July 11 2013

A presidential poem, reader challenge

Here’s a poem that’s an answer to a Forum reader’s request, along with a challenge to you poets out there.

Last fall, Neighbors carried a request from Richard Roberts, West Fargo, seeking a poem his mother recited that helped school kids remember the order of the presidents.

Richard writes that folks responded with variations of such a poem, one of which indeed was the one teachers used in 1899 and which his mother knew:

George Washington, that hero grand, was president of our dear land

Eight troubled years. Then Adams (John) preceded Thomas Jefferson.

He was elected twice, you know, like Madison and James Monroe.

John Quincy Adams, wise and firm, was next; then Jackson’s double term.

Van Buren ruled when times were bad; the death of Harrison was sad; but Tyler came, his years to close, ere James K. Polk in turn arose.

Zach Taylor of the Texan war soon left his place to good Fillmore.

Pierce and Buchanan both held sway while slavery questions ruled the day.

That storm cloud burst while Lincoln steered the “Ship of State,” whose wreck he feared;

Scarcely had he brought it safe to port when crime his second term cut short.

Johnson was therefore forced, though loath, to take the presidential oath.

Grant of our nation twice was head, ere to the White House Hayes was led.

When Garfield’s pain was o’er, at last, his power to Chester Arthur passed.

Next Cleveland and Ben Harrison, whose place again firm Cleveland won.

McKinley now rules land and main and all the islands torn from Spain.

Now the challenge. Richard suggests someone should bring the poem up to date, poetically listing the presidents from McKin-ley to Obama.

Any takers?

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, N.D. 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com