At the round earth's imagin'd corners

At the round earths imagin'd corners, blow
Your trumpets, Angells, and arise, arise
From death, you numberlesse infinities
Of soules, and to your scattered bodies goe,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
All whom warre, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despaire, law, chance, hath slaine, and you whose eyes,
Shall behold God, and never tast deaths woe.
But let them sleepe, Lord, and mee mourne a space,
For, if above all these, my sinnes abound,
'Tis late to aske abundance of thy grace,
When wee are there; here on this lowly ground,
Teach mee how to repent; for that's as good
As if thou’hadst seal'd my pardon, with thy blood.

-- John Donne

Saturday, January 30, 2010

01: A Long Sentence

It was a long sentence, all agreed (once Judge Rickhauser, following hours of deliberation, finally appeared and perched in his chair behind the bench and gazed stony-eyed at the courtroom, looking with his narrow hairless head like a bird of prey, hungry and eager to tear and devour flesh, and spent ten minutes excoriating the defendant, then thirty seconds reading the sentence, flashing an unwonted smile toward the end as he pronounced the word "maximum"); a long, perhaps vindictively long sentence, some said -- including of course Mr. Jawry, counsel for the defense, but also several in the gallery, and even, it was said later -- for it is with the perspective of years, and with the sad knowledge of the momentous events that were to follow (events that no one, not even Dr. Szpetsmund, the prosecution's charismatic expert witness, with his narrow clever eyes and precision of movement, word and thought, and his old-money manners and his degrees from Europe, could ever have anticipated -- events that affected, astounded, even devastated and forever changed all who found themselves involved) that this account is set down -- several members of the jury; yes, an unusually long, perhaps unjustly long sentence.

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