"A Patrolman's Departure"

They are standing straight and stoic, they are standing glove-to-glove,
It is raining, it is freezing, but they stand for pain and love.
Their hat-brims hide the hatred and the torture in their eyes,
They cannot help but feel the void when one of their own dies.

The service now is over and the widow staggers out,
All arms now at attention as the bagpipes cry and shout.
Flag-draped casket on six shoulders, could this day get any worse?
A salute's the silent answer as they load him in the hearse.

The speeches done, the songs are sung, it's time now for a ride,
The cortege is enormous, like a head-of-state has died,
The lights roll infinitum and the grief is crawling past,
Us citizens just stand there, we are watching to the last.

We wonder at the pagentry, our heads shake in despair,
We think, as the three-shot volley pierces through the morning air,
"Oh, this didn't have to happen, what an awful tragic day,"
"In this sea of hurt and anguish, how will Justice find its way?"

But as the ranks disperse and as they trudge back to their cars,
We know that for the killer await four walls of iron bars.
They'll put aside their grief just like they're trained so well to do,
For even crafty killers can't evade this mass of blue.

So the funeral has ended, and the mayor has gone home,
I've heard some people question, "are we well within the zone,"
"To put on such a costly show for cops just pounding pavement?"
But how can we sit 'round and judge a slain cop's final payment?

To say it's inappropriate, to question it with scorn,
Shows that you know nothing of the target that is worn,
On every good cop's shirt or vest, on every trooper's heart,
It calls out like a bull's-eye, it is simply called the badge.

Gabriel L. Nathan

Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1997 - All Rights Reserved

and may not be duplicated without permission

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