Saturday, 11 December 2010

Your Honour, I plead guilty!

Your Honour, I plead guilty, if you so wish
For you glare at me in your horn-rimmed glasses
Dressed in red to welcome scums to halls of justice
Nose twisted heavenwards as if to ward off the stench of my crime.

I plead guilty, Your Honour
For you are impatient with me
You insist in ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not Guilty’
Blind to my ‘let me explain’
Eager to send me to oblivion.

I wanted to explain to you this thing slowly
The way men do
But you insist in barking at me
How will you know how it all started?
Is this the way people handle issues?

Your Honour, I am the wronged man here
I should be the object of your mercy
I can’t afford the price of a lawyer’s tongue
Every time I want to talk my way, you block my path
How can truth be found, Your Honour?
That is why I will say I am guilty.
But if we were in the village
I would call everyone and pass through the thighs of old men
And if I lie I die

If I were in the village
I would drink from a calabash to declare my innocence
I would stand facing sunrise and say,
“Kinsmen, if I stole from Lokwarasia
then as the sun rises this morning, let me die with it in the evening”
And if I lie I die

But here I will plead guilty.

C) Lorot Salem 2010

Goat Case

We gathered today under a tree
To settle a case of a stolen goat
And what a hard case that was!

The Accused stood in rebellion saying:
Kinsmen, which goat did I steal? Whose goat have I stolen?
Under a tree, today, we listened to this Goat Case all day long
Examination-in-chief, cross-examination
Evidence adduced, presumptions rebutted
Flared up emotions, plea for justice

And so all day long we listened to this Goat Case
Under a tree
Till we reached this verdict:
Both parties will avail themselves the next Market Sunday
Accused will carry a kid, victim will come with the mother-goat
If the kid runs to the mother-goat, the case is settled!

Market Sunday. Kid runs to mother-goat.
Case settled! Accused to pay fourteen goats and kumiket for judges.
Next file please!

C) Lorot Salem 2010

Monday, 6 December 2010


If I were to postulate what law is
As Professors are wont
I would posit:
Law is what we think it is
An obfuscation of legal scholars
An enigma.

Why, defined law is everything we think it is
Which precise words can’t wholly describe
It is the minstrel to men
It is the arch-enemy of anarchy
It is what is in the bosoms of men
Not codes and statutes
It is imprinted in the conscience.

Law is not an UFO
Law is not an extra- terrestrial
Law is a citizen recognized by man.

C) Salem Lorot 2010

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