The Judge

He sat in the gallery for so long, quiet,
I had barely registered him in my sight.
Other matters held my attention.
In truth, I noticed first the dark suits.

But then he rose to give his testimony
And all eyes in the courtroom were on him.
Well, almost. His open gaze was only on me,
While the prosecutor eyed me warily.

There was no guile in this man’s face,
And I caught myself leaning forward.
There was trust in his eyes, and hope
That his brother would be found innocent.

I listened carefully to his simple words,
And, in them, evidence of a truth.

/ / /

This poem was written in response to the Norman Rockwell painting above. Thanks to Margo Roby at Wordgathering for her Tuesday Tryout.

11 thoughts on “The Judge

  1. I agree with you both. There is something in the man’s eyes. I find it amazing that an artist can capture and transmit that. Your word picture fits, Richard. The phrase ‘no guile’ is perfect and I like that your speaker says ‘evidence of a truth’ and we are left to decide what truth he is referring to, because it may not be the innocence vs guilt.


    • Margo, thank you. It was a great idea. I enjoyed writing to Rockwell’s painting. Thank you for suggesting it. Glad you liked the ending. I did want that “truth” to be vague and open to interpretation.



  2. I knew exactly what I wanted to say but it turns out Margo/Mark have already stated exactly what I wanted to say! You really captured this image, Richard, and the use of the word guile is so very befitting. Excellent poem! πŸ™‚


  3. Well done; you’ve nailed this one. Besides the commentary already posted, I’d like to mention your “dark suit” reference in the first stanza. When I looked at this photo, I didn’t first see the main character’s eyes — I saw layers of light and dark (the dark suits and cream suits), and I wondered what Rockwell was trying to say with that. I don’t think that it’s an artist’s gimmick. I think it’s purposeful.

    ~ Misky


    • Misky, thank you. I agree with you. I think Rockwell’s use of color in this painting is quite deliberate – and has meaning. The colors drew me in first, and then I started looking at the characters. Thanks for the kind and thoughtful reply.



  4. I noted the contrasts in the suits as well…but more from the standpoint that the man standing was NOT wearing a suit. He is so out of place in his dress as well as that look of “no guile” in his face. I absolutely love the thoroughness with which you obviously studied the artwork before you wrote. You’ve done a superb job in crafting a poem to so perfectly fit the scene.


    • Paula, thank you. Good observation; I, too, noted that he wasn’t wearing a suit. That didn’t make it into the poem, but was jotted down in my notes. He stands out in many ways. I’m glad Margo chose this painting by Rockwell. It’s marvelous – and was fun to write to. πŸ™‚



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