Jurist Prudence

Two mischievous children on a seesaw,
that is what the court is -
the bankrobbers hide their loot
in a red silk handkerchief
stuffed inside a glass jar;
that is what the law is,
crime forbidden by statute,
the courts abrim with straw -
and the public welfare,
the quiet stray dog lapping up
the puddle in the public square,
and that is what love is,
the butterfly in Mrs Knapp's hair.
The shame that the trees confide
in the evening shadows
that hug the streets,
the yards tall, filled
with a beggar's shameless pride;
the beast shall lose its hide,
and that is what crime is -
the condemned man who wishes upon a star,
and that is what the law is -
punishable by fear, bliss;
all and all, abide this.

Ernest Slyman

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