guest blogger: Lizzie Borden

Posted: April 10, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Mercy me, stigma is a difficult and lonesome burden. Even after all these years the good people of the great commonwealth of Massachusetts and across this God-fearing nation still believe I murdered my father and step-mother. They do not know or do not remember I was acquitted of all wrongdoing by 12 respected New Bedford men after only 90 minutes of jury deliberation. Acquitted. I know not why people fail to recall this important detail when thinking of me. Convincing them of the truth is as tough as removing blood splats from your petticoats. I often long to build a glorious bonfire and watch the evidence this distasteful experience burn to ash.

I blame that cursed verse. Most folks know of me from that cursed verse. It is one passed from child to child with no more malicious intent than the actions of a sprite young woman sleepwalking about her property with an axe in search of a tree to fell. The easy rhythm makes it stick in memory, much like the other popular childhood verses of “London Bridge” and “Ring Around the Rosie.” Tis my misfortune the one about me contains no lilting tune. With a pleasing melody children might sing it with a bit ‘o glee in their sweet voices instead of snottily reciting it like a funeral dirge. It is true my skills do not extend to music composition. Still one can imagine how easily this verse would yield to musical accompaniment, similar to the soft acceptance of skin when unsuspectingly met with a sharpened blade. Yes, if fine Christian folks began to sing this verse I believe they might view me with a wee measure of compassion, instead of looking at me as the 19th century version of O.J. (I am unclear what exactly that means, but was counseled to include it by my attorney.)

I assume most of you know the verse to which I refer. If you do not, I will repeat it. Part of me is reluctant to do so. Nonetheless, I will. I have heard it so many times that I assume writing it will not cause emotional distress or ignite irrational behavior. I also understand a person found innocent cannot be set to trial again for the same offense. Innocent like me, acquitted of all charges by 12 stout men of fine citizenry. Keep that in your thoughts as you read these blasphemous words.

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.

What a travesty! I thought I was immune, yet as I write these words my heart calluses over like my hands have been callused all this wretched life from wielding heavy tools! I write these words and a blinding red rage fills my soul! Would this not incite such a reaction in you, especially if you were proclaimed innocent in a courtroom in front of a judge and newspapermen? Even if guilt shrouded me – and it does not – but even if it did, this hurtful verse is also completely inaccurate. Step-Mother Abby (not mother), God rest her widower snatching soul, was hacked with only 18 or 19 mighty blows from an axe. And dear dear Father, it only took 11 swift chops to end his life and send him to heaven where he reunited with his blessed first wife Sarah, my sainted mother. A total of 30 whacks between the two of them, not 81! Oh, the blatant exaggeration! At least that is what was sworn into testimony by men of science who are called upon to determine these facts. Because how else could I possibly know such intimate details? That’s right, I could not. I could not because I am blameless, faultless, inculpable, guiltless, untainted and, most of all, innocent and cleared of all charges. Let a poet with a gift for harmony put that into verse.

  1. Mighty nice of you to give ol’ Lizzie a place to tell her side of the gruesome story.


  2. kayjai says:

    Well, done!


  3. H.E. ELLIS says:

    You think of all the best stuff! This was really, really good. If you have the time you should expand this idea into something regular. Genius.


    • John says:

      Thank you, kind lady. I spit these out if I happen to feel inspired. I’ve had 4 spittings so far, if you excuse the disgusting imagery.


  4. And as kids, we jumped rope to this rhyme and counted the whacks per jump. Not very sympathetic is it?


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