for a Hangman
It’s sad to see that breaking necks is out of fashion: this
Our taking new technologies to heart.
The practice, in the West at least, has much declined or even
Yes, hanging has become a dying art.
I say an art, and so it is: it takes a mathematics whiz
To gauge a Dead Man Sitting’s weight and height
And how much rope is needed to divide his head and spine. Could
Or I get such a calculation right?
A man who’s practised in the use of gallows and a sturdy noose
Will do the job with expeditious skill:
In seconds your convicted chap is hooded, strung and through the
A quick and clean and (almost) painless kill.
You need to put in time and graft to learn this old and subtle
With poison gas or needles, not so much.
The chair’s no punitive advance: when villains do the sit-down
They miss the hangman’s artisanal touch.
If you have any comments on this poem, Rob Stuart would
be pleased to hear from you.