Guest poem sent in by Salima Virani
(Poem #1393) The Lawyers Know Too Much
The lawyers, Bob, know too much. They are chums of the books of old John Marshall. They know it all, what a dead hand wrote, A stiff dead hand and its knuckles crumbling, The bones of the fingers a thin white ash. The lawyers know a dead man's thought too well. In the heels of the higgling lawyers, Bob, Too many slippery ifs and buts and howevers, Too much hereinbefore provided whereas, Too many doors to go in and out of. When the lawyers are through What is there left, Bob? Can a mouse nibble at it And find enough to fasten a tooth in? Why is there always a secret singing When a lawyer cashes in? Why does a hearse horse snicker Hauling a lawyer away? The work of a bricklayer goes to the blue. The knack of a mason outlasts a moon. The hands of a plasterer hold a room together. The land of a farmer wishes him back again. Singers of songs and dreamers of plays Build a house no wind blows over. The lawyers--tell me why a hearse horse snickers hauling a lawyer's bones.
[Comments] After reading the last submission to Minstrels about lawyers, I could not resist making a case in defence ;) I'm always wary of the reaction I will get from people when I tell them that I am a lawyer. I've gotten used to the contempt and the look of disdain that come my way. I think I've also heard almost every lawyer joke that's out there (and there's far too many) [I'm reminded of the lawyer who said "well, then, the next time you're arrested, go hire a comedian!" - martin]. I've browsed through many sites looking for poetry that (even if it does not glorify lawyers) is (at least) not condescending towards them. I haven't had much success. This poem, much like a lawyer joke, highlights some of the stereotypes which give lawyers the reputation they have. The use of archaic legalese jargon, for instance. Attributes that lawyers are Insensitive, Cold, Callous and Unfeeling. Perhaps, that's often the only way we can maintain objectivity and be competent? Lawyers do know how to show compassion and love. We also know how to laugh and feel. And shocking as it might sound, lawyers also appreciate poetry. But, that is when they're not being lawyers. However, a competent lawyer is one that can put aside personal prejudices and feelings (even when they are in conflict with the client)and maintain objectivity. No one explains this dichotomy to lawyer's personality better than Mulan Ashwin, a fellow lawyer and lover of poetry (I found this poem by him on the web): I am not a poet. I am a lawyer. Subtlety and sensitivity are prerequisites for poets, not so for lawyers. I would be too scared to be a poet; they feel too much. Lawyers should not feel too much; they are trained not to. Can one train to be a poet? To feel too much? - Mulan Ashwin [BIO] Not much needs to be said about Carl Sandburg. The EB biography of Sandburg can be had at Poem #163 Cheers, Salima