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TCL > April 2005 Issue > Inner Voices: Poetry and Law

April 2005       Vol. 34, No. 4       Page  27

Inner Voices: Poetry and Law

The Colorado Lawyer ("TCL") publishes poetry written by Colorado attorneys on a space-available basis. The TCL Poetry Review Committee chooses poems for publication based on the following criteria: poems must be about the life of the law, including experiences that impact a lawyer’s sense of justice; and reflect his or her personal impressions of the practice of law. Readers interested in submitting poetry may contact Arlene Abady, Managing Editor, at



By Jill Mattoon

You work in the garden of other people’s strife
Your shop is life’s shortcomings

Rarely they come for glad advice,
Usually a divorce.
Occasionally an adoption, mostly a child custody fight.
Sometimes to begin a profitable business, full of hope, more often for bankruptcy.

The disappointments boil,
the resentments bubble up,
the anger splashes over,
hits the lawyer’s sleeve, face.
The lawyer winces—
rolls up the dirty sleeves,
works amidst the brokenness
Might as well ask the surgeon
to never get blood on hands & scrubs

as ask the lawyer to be loved.
Yet lawyers fret, soaking up others’ problems.
The clients stand at the door,
they will not leave your office
 Suddenly whole
  Suddenly healthy
   Suddenly rich
    Suddenly loved
     Suddenly happy
      Suddenly right.

The lawyer toils not for respect and admiration
but for justice,
even a little
for this client, the one right here
whose need splashes on the desk.
If you were paid in public accolades
you would be poor.
But you are rich in service
and wealthy in understanding.



By Esteban A. Martinez

on the other side
of the plastic window
an old addict—late fifties, yellowed
says "yeah, yeah—I told them it was mine"
he didn’t know it was stolen
the .380 in a shoebox under his bed

I actually believe, maybe
it will get him 32 years
regardless of my lawyering
if the judge has no discretion
and ATF and JUSTICE use theirs
to hide him from our hopes and dreams
for the third and last time.


By Tom Barnes

to fairly weigh the issues
sometimes sneaks a peek.

+A humorous or satiric poem dealing with human affairs, usually written in the same form as a haiku (an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin).


By Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr.

Law is the written experience
Of the People

Wise for being slow to change,
Courage for the changing

In the strength of individual experience,
One NationJoined to the community

Of individuals,
Judges must be students

Of the experience of the community.

* This poem was first published in Hobbs, In Praise of Fair Colorado: The Practice of Poetry, History, and Judging (Denver, CO: Bradford Pub. Co., 2004) at 26.


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