A Courtroom Lesson

Johnny, dark, quiet, tough as a pine knot
Ran with Jimmy, fair of face, full of grins.
You never saw just one,  a pair almost twins.

Ran the hills, rills, fleet as a mountain stream,
Built a cabin, even felled the trees in deep woods.
Sturdy both the boys and their lean-to shelter.

Learned to start a fire with flint and spark,
Trapped a squirrel once, let it go, ate instead
Cornbread, hard tack, and slept in woodsy dark.

Good kids, blood from men gnarled as trunk and bark.
Gave no quarter, asked no favor, strong as boulders.
Kids a recent version copying Boone,Crockett, elders.

Why do they this day stand side by side in the docket,
Pale, tense, wishing to run, shamed by their gun?
Eyes cast down, shoulders drooped, hands in pocket.
BB’s a heavy sting to shoot a rabbit, but a dog yelped.

Judge, father to the towhead, hauled them in, lesson
Taught, summer spent at chores for the aggrieved.
Two months of labor before they were apprieved.

In three years Pine Knot shipped to fight overseas.
Lost him behind enemy lines running secrets back,
Got caught too, story looked to have a deadly end,
He slipped away, slick as a snake’s under belly, men
Didn’t reckon on a mountain kid brave as hard tack.

Got a medal, never spoke of it, now he’s safe and back
He often wished for days to run, cabins to build but not
Dogs to shoot..Learned his lesson long ago, Jimmy too,
Now men who grew up one day with the stern command

Order in the court.