Rewrite Man

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

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At newspapers in the Sixties
typewriters reigned and rang.
Computers were a fantasy.

Being a “rewrite man” back then
was a dream job if one enjoyed
“improving” other people’s copy

rather than writing one's own.
Harry Murphy loved that job.
Harry said “rewrite" let him

adopt thousands of children
rather than give birth to one.
Far less painful, Harry said.

He was the midwife between
reporters in the field
who scurried after facts

and the editor who said
a story was fit to print.
Reporters phoned in stories

in the age before laptops
and Harry the Bard wrote them.
Harry’s motto was simple:

Even an obituary deserves
a touch of music, a polka for a Pole,
a reel or jig for an Irishman.

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Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.


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