Crime and Punishment poems

I just read an obituary of Maurice Sagoff (Robert McG. Thomas, “Maurice Sagoff, 88, a master of terse verses on literature”, NY Times, March 29, 1998, reprinted in the 2001 book 52 McGs.).

Minor point: I think I had an academic debate with Sagoff’s son Mark in the pages of Ecological Economics a few years back.

Major point (such as it is!): In the obituary I came across Sagoff’s version of Crime and Punishment (from his book Shrinklits):

Up-tight student
Axes pair.
Fearful, with the
Cops aware.
Yet vainglorious,
He won’t chicken
Till by saintly
Sonia stricken;
Then confession,
Trial and sentence:
Eight Siberian years.
Repentence
Floods his spirit,
Hang-ups cease,
She will join him
Seeking peace…
In that bleak
Siberian hovel,
Watch him, Sonia,
With that shovel.

It reminded me of the poem I wrote about the same book back at Lowell High School, which I found inside the front cover of my copy and have attempted to reproduce faithfully below:

A RHYME ON CRIME, by Yoram Bauman ’91

Raskolnikov, trying to prove he’s not yellow
Axes Alyona and tries to act mellow
But then his conscience begins to bellow
Poor misled fellow!

For Dounia, Sonia, prostitution’s a buffer
Toward the former “victim” Svid’s getting rougher
Rodya tells Sonia the crime’s a snuffer
Look at them suffer!

Eye on Rodya, Porfiry thinks Nikolay’s odd
Dounia dumps Pyotr, gives Razumikin the nod
To confess, Porfiry, Sonia prod Rod
Does he think he’s God?

EPILOGUE

Rodya’s “rational” thinking makes him schizo; that’s hazardous
Still not original, he becomes another Lazarus.

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