A Number for a Name
With my uniform on I entered my dingy cell
I’d been given a number instead of a name.
The gray bars slammed shut on an old inmate and me,
as I sat down sadly on the tiny bed frame.
He stuck out his hand saying; “I’m ‘two-one-three-five’,
Friend, what brings you here to this cold and hardened place? ”
“Hey Man, I’m ‘four-nine-four-two’, I’m in for a while, '
as dread and sadness fell quickly over my face.
He said; “Pal, don’t you go gettin so down and blue,
for I’ve got a cure for your sad disposition.”
Then he jumped to his feet and shouted, “two hundred! ”
then laughter seemed to roar from every direction!
Up and down the corridors numbers were shouted,
as men did roar with laughter time and time again;
confused, but amused I asked; “Friend, what’s going on? ”
He smiled at me and then laughingly he explained:
“You see friend, we’ve been in this hole so very long,
we’ve heard all the jokes over and over again;
we don’t waste our time tell’em in detail any more,
so, like us, we give them a number for a name.'
“Man that’s great! Do you mind if I give it a try? ”
“You go right ahead! ” my cell mate gladly exclaimed.
I yelled “two hundred and six! ” There was dead silence,
then I shouted “fifteen, ” but just silence again.
I sat back on my bed, embarrassed, I had to ask;
“What’s wrong, for it appears a joke teller I ain’t? '
He laughed, then spoke these words which set my mind at ease;
“Friend that just proves, that some can tell’em and some can’t.”
Comments about this poem (A Number for a Name by Loyd C. Taylor )
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Happy Birthday Omar Khayyam!
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