An Obscenity Trial
by Michael R. Burch
The defendant was a poet held in many iron restraints
against whom several critics cited numerous complaints.
They accused him of trying to reach the "common crowd,"
and they said his poems incited recitals far too loud.
The prosecutor alleged himself most artful (and best-dressed);
it seems he’d never lost a case, nor really once been pressed.
He was known far and wide for intensely hating clarity;
twelve dilettantes at once declared the defendant another fatality.
The judge was an intellectual well-known for his great mind,
though not for being merciful, honest, sane or kind.
Clerics called him the "Hanging Judge" and the critics were his kin.
Bystanders said, "They'll crucify him!" The public was not let in.
The prosecutor began his case by spitting in the poet's face,
knowing the trial would be a farce.
"It is obscene," he screamed, "to expose the naked heart!"
The recorder (bewildered Society), well aware of his notoriety,
greeted this statement with applause.
"This man is no poet. Just look—his Hallmark shows it.
Why, see, he utilizes rhyme, symmetry and grammar! He speaks without a stammer!
His sense of rhythm is too fine!
He does not use recondite words or conjure ancient Latin verbs.
This man is an imposter!
I ask that his sentence be . . . the almost perceptible indignity
of removal from the Post-Modernistic roster!"
The jury left, in tears of joy, literally sequestered.
The defendant sighed in mild despair, "Might I not answer to my peers?"
But how His Honor giggled then,
seeing no poets were let in.
Later, the clashing symbols of their pronouncements drove him mad
and he admitted both rhyme and reason were bad.
Published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea and Poetry Life & Times