Poem – INTER ARMA SILENT LEGES* (By Ray Gallucci)



(Based on the movie “The Conspirator,” about the trial and execution of Mary Surratt, one of the convicted conspirators of the Lincoln assassination)


“In war, the law falls silent,”

As Cicero first said,

For when the times are violent

Emotions trump the head.


No “habeas” of “corpus”

Or “sparing of the rod”

Can serve the “noble purpose”

Of vengeance wrought by God.


First manifest when Lincoln’s

Conspirators were tried

As other than civilians –

Were legal rights denied?


A military jury

Of officers, not peers,

In somewhat of a hurry

Convened to quell all fears.


The nation was in shambles

From four-year Civil War.

No time to read Preambles

Or Bill of Rights pore o’er.


Just five of nine for verdict

Of guilty to return.

And just one more converted

Meant death would guilty earn.


Found guilty, four were sentenced

And hanged without appeal

To sate the nation’s vengeance

Or Justice Blind reveal?


But only one year after,

The Court Supreme proclaimed

No citizen hereafter

Could ever more be framed.


However, post-Pearl Harbor

The Court reversed itself

When ruled for Nisei proper

As captives to be held.


Debate’s now resurrected

For War on Terrorists.

Should they have rights protected

When so much threat exists?


To me, depends on whether

Or not they’re citizens.

If so, then we should render

As all Americans.


But if they’re Al Qaedan

Or Talibanic plants,

They merit nothing more than

What we to spies would grant.

__________ enim_silent_leges


Author Bio:

I am a Professional Engineer who has been writing poetry since 1990. I am an incorrigible rhymer, tending toward the skeptical/cynical regarding daily life. I have been fortunate to have been published in poetry magazines and on-line journals such as NUTHOUSE, MOTHER EARTH INTERNATIONAL, FEELINGS/POETS’ PAPER, MÖBIUS (when Jean Hull Herman published), PABLO LENNIS, MUSE OF FIRE, SO YOUNG!, THE AARDVARK ADVENTURER, POETIC LICENSE, THUMBPRINTS, UNLIKELY STORIES, BIBLIOPHILOS, FULLOSIA PRESS, NOMAD’S CHOIR, HIDDEN OAK, PABLO LENNIS, POETSESPRESSO, SOUL FOUNTAIN, WRITER’S JOURNAL, ATLANTIC PACIFIC PRESS, DERONDA REVIEW, LYRIC, THE STORYTELLER, WRITE ON! and DANA LITERARY SOCIETY.