Poetry by Philip M. Williams

The Judge

On, the rower bends her back,
Regardless of the choppy sea.
She swings her oars in steadfast time
And strains to watch a dwindling line,
To keep it straight. She will not deign
To rest and slow and twist and glimm
Her distant goal. Hard on right,
and hard on left.  Her mind yields not
To coasting glides, like other folks,
But seeks to reach her certain spot
By swinging  ever strengthening strokes.

So too, the judge upon the bench
Must watch the trailing wake of crime.
Here, amid the sweaty shoals
Of smarmy suits, of desperate pleads,
Of swearing multitudes that grin
And rage at prosecutor’s crisp
Catalogue of past misdeeds,
She braves the waves of ignorance,
The winds of fear, in search of truth.
She seals upon the book their fate.

Oh, she makes me wish to drink
Deep from the small glass
Bowl of life, to suck its rim,
To lick its crystal bottom clear,
To turn it round and upside down,
To focus on the firmament,
Its darkness shot with brilliant light,
To join, and learn from whence we come,
And where we go, and who we are.



  List of Poems:

Songs of war

1. Song, on reading Hitchens' Good Time for War
2. Alexander

3. Acela Express
Birthday Songs
1. Birthday Girl
2. Travel

Stairs in and around Harvard College
1. Stadium Sonnet
2. Gund Hall Stairs
3. Harvard Coop Stairs (Tree of Knowledge)

Odd Songs
1. Piss Tish
2. Poison Ivy Blues
3. The Boston Room

Peace and Love
1. Sea of Love
2. Distant Moon
3. Anti Faustian Pact
4. It is an Honor

5. My Tin House
Old Age
1. To Jack
1. In Memoriam
2. The Judge


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