Home > Creative Writing, Food for Thought, Poetry > Equity, a Poem by Craig Hill (repost)

Equity, a Poem by Craig Hill (repost)

First, sorry for the bad formatting above.  It is just how WordPress formats reblogged posts.  Please view the original post on Craig Hill’s site.

Next, here’s my comments about his post and the reason for reposting it:

I haven’t posted anything here in KnowCanDo in the area of creative writing – fiction or poetry – before… I’m not sure why, but I suppose I have been totally focused on non-fiction and opinion of late, which shows in the books I’ve been reading the past several years…

Craig Hill’s poem, IMHO, is extremely interesting. It is extremely contemporary, in the sense that it is very unlikely that it would have been written at any time historically but now. In a sense, I think that as poetry, it is unlikely to be something that has a “lasting” impact, in that it doesn’t seem to be something reviewed 200 years from now in an English Literature class in Providence, Rhode Island.  (I have nothing for, or against, Providence.  It is merely an example.  I chose the city at random from my memory just because I imagined it to be far from Craig in Brisbane, Queensland, in Australia.)

That doesn’t mean it isn’t a good poem. I see him trying to impact an audience now. He wants his reader to think not just about the situation he describes, be it imaginary or on a real court case he has witnessed.  As someone who has done work for many years in security and law enforcement, the situation Hill describes in his poem is probably rooted in one or more of the cases that he has seen.

But the details of the situation – real or fictional matter little.  In either case, the situation is one that is likely to have happened before and can happen again. It is this potential that makes it pertinent to think about how we think – not just about other races, in general, but also about how courts and society treats and considers the rights and prejudices that individuals have.

Though the imagery conveyed in every other line is stark and descriptive, it is the repetition of the phrase, “Equal, in the eyes of the law,” that stands out. Read as a statement, Hill’s meaning, of course, is that it is really a question. What is equality? What is fairness? What is justice? How can we ensure these abstract rights when we make decisions in court and in government based on the unbiased observation and judgement of biased people?

As educators and people seeking to improve the quality of life for everyone, we need to learn to develop personal conduct that embrases the values of fairness, honesty, kindness, and justice. But we cannot enforce it among individuals. We can only hope that the moral and ethical fabric of our children will hold tight our most vital, vibrant, and human ideals.

Thank you, Craig, for this thoughtful song!

Craig Hill Training Services

The policeman, and prisoner, both stand in the court;
Both equal, in the eyes of the law.
It was just yesterday, that these two had fought,
But now they’re equal, in the eyes of the law.

The black man, they say, raped a white girl;
All equal in the eyes of the law.
Now, as the story starts to unfurl,
They’re all equal, in the eyes of the law.

The prisoner is barefoot, he doesn’t look well;
But he’s equal, in the eyes of the law.
Unshaven and dirty, from a night in the cell;
But he’s equal, in the eyes of the law.

The black man was caught with the white girl one day;
They’re equal, in the eyes of the law.
She’d taken him home, while her husband’s away;
All equal, in the eyes of the law.

The husband was early, and caught the black guy;
All equal…

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