Subject: Don't Be Cruel ...
From: Christopher W. Thomas (poetlaureate@poetic.com)
Host: 209-150-40-71.s71.tnt1.spg.ma.dialup.rcn.com
Date: Wed June 30, 1999 at 10:06PM

Don't Be Cruel ...


On this date in nineteen seventy-two
The Supreme Court made an issue
Of the death penalty, ruling it violated
Part of the Bill of Rights, where it stated

In Amendment Eight of the Constitution
Clearly, and without any equivocation ...
"Excessive bail shall not be required ...
Nor excessive fines imposed" (since mired) ...

"Nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted"
A reference to other countries' use of different
... Ways of applying punishment for deeds
Engaged in, against the law's written needs

And so the states which had employed unusual methods
Of applying capital punishment according to their statures
Revised them all - and in some cases, just dropped them
Deciding the court was right, and so now there are more men

... Behind bars today than ever there were before
As life imprisonment now seems to settle the score
And firing squads and hangings seem to have gone the way
Of guillotines, axe-men, and stake-burnings of past days ....

- Tristram

Christopher W. Thomas
written at 6:15pm 6/30/99
for the date - June 29th, 1999