The Fool I’ve Been,
as he was stepping down,
met the Fool I’ll Be,
who was donning the crown.
“Not so fast,” said Been to Be,
“you look an ordinary clown to me.”
“This is no job for a Bar Mitzvah rental –
these are big shoes to fill.
Why, you must be mental!
You think that if you simply will
wear a wig or disguise like Yentl,
you can be a fool? All accidental?”
“The kind of fool that’s needed here,”
continued the very aged Been,
“was born before your tender year.
He must have had the chance to learn.
He must have had the chance to hear,
so it might slip out his other ear.”
“I’m young, it’s true,”
said the fool-to-be,
“but if you’ll give me half a chance,
I’ll be a bigger fool than thee.”
So he wears the crown, and hikes up his pants,
as he begins the first of his uninformed rants:
“It’s my turn now,”
says the Fool I’ll Be,
”and I’ll tell you a thing or three:
my head may not be amply thick,
but my delivery is pretty slick,
and I know something of tomfoolery.”
“I didn’t need to get elected,”
he said as he kneeled
before he genuflected,
“I’m just outstanding in my field.”
And then, as though he had reflected:
“Among most fools, I am respected.”
Now I could quote the youngster
nicely, word for word,
but here’s the summation:
as you’ve probably heard,
and I’m sure you must have learned in school,
there is no fool like an old fool.
- Ralph Murre