Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Roll Call, A Parkinson's Poem

April was Parkinson’s Awareness month. It was also Poetry Month. Put them together, and you’ve got Parkinson’s Awareness Poetry Month. That calls for a PD poem. A poem that is full of false rhymes and staggering meter, the better to give it that old Parkinson’s feeling. Fortunately, I happen to have such a poem right here. (Note: I assume all of you out there suffering from this disease are sufficiently aware of it, so this poem is written to those who are still seemingly healthy.)

Post riginally written for The Northwest Parkinson's Foundation Community Blog.

Parkinson’s Roll Call

Hitler, Franco, Mao Tse Dung
all had, in common, Parkinson’s
Alan Alda, Muhammad Ali,
even George H. W. Bush had it (vascularly)
Ozzie Osbourne, of Black Sabbath,
and… Billy Graham? Go do THAT math!
Jesse Jackson, just so you knew,
and don’t forget Pope John Paul 2.
Vincent Price, most melancholy,
Surrealist artist, Salvador Dali,
Casey Kassem. Pierre Trudeau,
Charlie Rose, Janet Reno,
George Wallace and George Roy Hill
all had to swallow that bitter pill.
Johnny Cash and Robin Williams
both suffered forms of Parkinsonism
James Doohan, Star Trek’s engineer
And Nathan Heard, or so we hear.
Linda Ronstadt was not spared,
nor was the actor Deborah Kerr.
Nor Richard Thompson, of cartooning fame,
Nor German actor Ferdy Mayne
Nor Conductor of opera James Levine,
Nor Eugene McCarthy, that’s right,“Clean Gene”
Nor Walter Sisulu, freedom fighter-
Nor Jack Anderson, muckraking writer
Nor Author and artist Mervyn Peake,
Nor Glenn Tipton, of rock band Judas Priest
Nor Davis Phinney cyclist of renown,
Nor Billy Connolly, a Scottish clown,
Nor Maurice White, of Earth,Wind and Fire
Nor Roger Bannister, sub four-minute miler,
Neil Diamond’s got it, so they say,
Spiders & Snakes singer Lizzie Grey,
Martha Johnson, who sang with the Muffins,
actor Bob Hoskins, a lovable ruffian
Margaret Bourke-White, photographer sublime,
Actor and model Valerie Perrine,
Steve Ludzik of the NHL,
Brent Peterson, a hockey star as well,
Boxing hero Freddie Roach,
Billy Kennedy Texas A&M basketball coach.
Massa Salto pro wrestler from Japan,
Paul Sinha, British comedian
And who can forget Fox, Michael J?
The list goes on, but that's enough for today.

The rich and the poor, the steadfast and the flighty,
Priests and beasts, the weak and the mighty,
Losers and winners, it’s brutal but true
If they all can get Parkinson’s, Parkinson’s can get you
~Peter Dunlap-Shohl.