Robert William Service

(16 January 1874 - 11 September 1958 / Preston)

The Prisoner


Upspoke the culprit at the bar,
Conducting his own case:
'Your Lordship, I have gone to far,
But grant me of your grace.
As I was passing by a shop
I saw my arm go out,
And though I begged of it to stop,
It stole beyond a doubt.

'But why should my whole body be
Condemned to dungeon grim,
For what in fact was only the
Transgression of a limb?
So here before the Court I stand,
And beg in Justice' name:
Please penalise my arm and hand,
But not my frame.'

Outspoke the Judge with voice of ice,
Although a smile he hid:
'Quite right! You should not pay the price
For what one member did.
Your reasoning I must admit;
Your arm should gaol expect . . .
Three months! And if you follow it
The Court does not object.'

The culprit smiled with sudden charm,
Then to the Court's dismay,
Quickly removed a wooden arm
And went away.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Is It Poetry (10/24/2009 7:07:00 AM)

    I suspect here a wisdom) vs(cunning
    that equaled that of Solomon...
    I'm sure the accused was
    one of those who left
    and became one of the
    founding fathers of America...iip (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

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