Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mortimer, Who Plagiarized and Was Assassinated: A Cautionary Tale

I dedicate this poem to all great writing teachers everywhere.

Mortimer, Who Plagiarized and Was Assassinated
A Cautionary Tale

Mortimer seemed an innocuous child.
His manners were pleasant, his countenance mild.
You’d never suspect him of harboring lice,
But he had a grim failing—so vile ‘twas a vice.
And to this bad habit his demise can be traced,
For when writing an essay, he’d cut and he’d paste
Whole phrases and sentences, paragraphs, too!
And once he had got them, do you know what he’d do?
He’d forgo quotation marks! Forget citation!
Completely devoid of documentation
He’d turn in that essay and call it his own,
When really he’d got all his wording on loan.
His writing professor, so wise and so good,
Warned Mortimer gravely, she did what she could
To show him his way was pernicious and naughty!
But Mortimer stayed unrepentant and thought he
Could do as he pleased, until to his dismay,
His crimes were reported to the MLA.
Up through the committees the dreadful news spread
Until it had reached the executive head.
To punish this cutting and pasting young thief,
An assassin was sent by the scholar-in-chief.
When she came to the house, she found the young felon
just finishing up with an essay on Helen
of Troy. He was slick with glue spatters,
And beside him the Iliad lay snipped into tatters.
She knew her job well and she got right to work,
With cool eyes, steady hands, just the trace of smirk.
She first secured Mortimer, tied him up tightly
with no chance of escape, as she told him forthrightly.
She cut up the essay on Helen of Troy,
So basely contrived by that horrible boy.
With a touch that was gentle for the Iliad so wronged,
She pasted the pages back where they belonged.
And then with the scissors and bottle of glue,
She cut and she pasted Mortimer, too.
She sliced with precision, packed his joints full of paste,
Then posed him artistically—in very good taste—
To serve as a warning to others who’d cheat.
In concern for the carpet, she tried to be neat
Though glue oozed profusely from the carnage most gory,
Congealing the end of our tragical story.
But a moral is gained! For this lesson it lends:
That plagiarists come to the stickiest ends.

©HD Elliott 2008, 2012

Permission granted to re-post for cautionary purposes if you credit me as the assassin poet.

1 comment:

  1. Hee! You have brought laughter and cheer to this colorless day.