Brother Poems - Poems For Brother

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Gunfight At The County Jail - Poem by Francis Duggan

On a monday evening in late October the Clarke gang came to town
There was malice in their scornful eyes and anger in their frown
The cold, cold breath of Winter was in the twilight air
As Bill drove towards the jailhouse at the left of the town square.

Most people claim that their brother John was wrongly sent to jail
That he was not a member of the gang who robbed the mail
That a biased judge and jury combined to sentence him wrongfully
To twenty years confinement in the penitentiary

John's four brothers were in the gang who plundered the mail train
But most of those who know the Clarke's without reserve maintain
That the driver of the train that night mistakenly mistook him
For his look alike elder brother the blond haired gang leader Jim.

The Clarkes four noted outlaws with a reward on their head
In a raid on a big city bank shot four policemen dead
But their brother John is different, different to them in every way
He never did commit a crime, that's what those who know him say.

The quietly spoken gang leader and public enemy number one
Big Jim Clarke supreme marksman with a rifle or shotgun
The man who plan the robberies give counsel to and command
The most feared and the most wanted gang of outlaws in the land.

The smallest member of the gang the powerfully built Dave
With a loaded firearm in his hands like all cowards he is brave
Wearing three piece suit and fancy tie a murderer and a crook
Is this ruthless desperado with the old type gangster look.

The tall and lightly built Tom with long brown hair and beard
For a member of an outlaw gang he looks way out and weird
Wearing leather coat and blue jeans and with long sad looking face
He looks more like a member of the peaceful hippy race.

The youngster of the quartet the fair haired blue eyed Bill
With little provocation will fire his gun to kill
Wearing corduroy coat and trousers, striped shirt and black hat
He has as much respect for human life as he has for a rat.

The four notorious gunmen all lightening on the draw
Had come to free their brother from the clutches of the law
With guns and ammunition in plentiful supply
They had come to town for brother John old Bill Clarke's youngest boy.

Bill drove the motor car they had stolen through the locked prison gate
Leaving the brand new vehicle in battered looking state
And using the crashed car as protective shield the Clarkes commenced their try
For to free their brother from the jail beneath a darkening sky.

A bullet from a Clarke gun pierced the locked prison door
Hitting an unsuspecting prison guard who died moaning on the floor,
The prison guards returned lead and the battle it began
The battle for the freedom of a wrongfully jailed man.

Shouted Jim Clarke we have come to take our brother from this place
But his reply from the jailhouse was a bullet in the face
And as he lay there dying he whispered lads for me
Don't leave this town this evening without taking John with ye.

The prison yard was littered with broken window glass
And the exchanges were hectic as bullets to and fro did pass
Another prison guard lay dead, shot to death where he lay
He little thought that this for him would be the final day.

The prison guards could not telephone for help as the Clarke's had cut the main phone wire
And running low on ammunition they called for a ceasefire
Then opened up his prison cell and released Johnny Clarke
And along with his three brothers he left town in the dark

There once were five Clarke brothers but now there's only four
Jim the eldest of the five they won't see anymore
They must live like the hunted fox as price for their ill fame
For the law never ceases to chase those with the mark of Cain.

The visit of the bad men left two young widows in the town
To mourn for their dead husbands fighting for the law gunned down
Two shocked and distressed women, each with a young family
It would have been a good day's work had that judge set John Clarke free.


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