the tradition of a last meal before execution is ages old and highly symbolical. it can be seen as a way to make peace in between the sentenced prisoner and the entity that condemned him. also some superstition might be part of it, manifested in the fear, the executed could return as an evil spirit.
the united states are – as far as i know – the only western country that still makes use of death penalty laws. although there are some limitations about what and how much an inmate may request, the custom of a last meal still exists in most u.s. states – with the exception of texas.
henry hargreaves is a photographer from new zealand. he got interested in this cultural phenomenon and researched famous last meals requested by death row inmates in american prisons. he recreated those meals, took photos, added some basic info and i think he did a great job.
find more info about henry hargreaves’ no seconds project on beautiful decay.
photo the irish labour party (cc by-nd)
i know what you are thinking: “limericks? how old are you? seventy? filthy ryhmes are the domain of rap nowadays! leave the limericks to the retired sailors and creepy town drunks!” i do not know why so many people look askance at poetry – maybe even more so, if it has a tendency to be vulgar. well, you should know, that you are wrong. i want to take countermeasures; and for a start, enjoy these three fine limericks.
a young schizophrenic named struther,
when told of the death of his brother,
said: “yes, it’s too bad,
but i can’t feel too sad –
after all, I still have each other.”
a dying mosquito exclaimed,
“a chemist has poisoned my brain!”
the cause of his sorrow
there once was a man named bertold
who drank tea when the weather grew cold
as he reached for his tea cup…
“NE’ER GONNA GIVE YOU UP!”
oh, damn! you got limerickrolled!