The Ballad Of Carl Prinzler

Carl Prinzler planned to brave the snow
To the Iroquois Theater to see the show
Just after Christmas in Nineteen Ought Three
But something came up and he couldn’t go

The house was packed, two thousand all told
Had come to see Mr. Bluebeard unfold
An afternoon of light entertainment
And a short respite from the Illinois cold

But somewhere between a dance and a joke
An old piece of wire in the arc lighting broke
Fire spread like lightning throughout the assembled
And six hundred souls breathed their last breath of smoke

Six hundred souls breathed their last–even more
Some bodies were crushed into puddles of gore
Stacked at the exits like cord wood for burning
The weight of their panic had sealed every door

The theater owners were concerned with the crowd
No moving from seat to seat was allowed
“These gates will prevent any untoward co-mingling
Of the unwashed with the high ticket holders,” they vowed

The Iroquois lobby was worth talking about
The entrances were grand, gilded, and stout
Getting the audience in was their business
They didn’t much care how the people got out

On the theater owners the good mayor got rough
He closed them all down and talked very tough
Chicago mourned with a memorial vigil
Carl Prinzler decided that wasn’t enough

A man in builder’s hardware by trade
He knew something about how buildings were made
He also knew he could not shake the vision
Of six hundred gravesides where small wreathes were laid

Henry DuPont was a designer of fame
Carl knew him from the hardware store game
Mr. Vonnegut provided the marketing know-how
The three men conspired to save people from flame

Carl Prinzler isn’t a name that you knew
He’s only recalled by a limited few
I thought of how many owe their lives to this man
And figured this song is the least I could do


About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle.
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Ballad Of Carl Prinzler

  1. Pingback: I Dig Hardware / I Hate Hardware » The Ballad of Carl Prinzler

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