full conviction

his is a prosecutor, the people’s lawyer
though finished with the last of his litigation
and prepared to begin a new role as judge
he leaves us no less, as we can gain no more

his voice will likely remain in these halls
cracking sharp, like the whip has been
carrying the bark of a front line soldier
as he rallied those needed to his cause

you can cue him to the star spangled banner
and he will keep in time as well as sentiment
not a word or note will feel out of place
each having been composed of full conviction

for his is that rare and unwavering belief
uncommon but simple: there is a “right”
and people of good conscience stand to it
whatever the cause, whatever the hardship

here, has been the good and willing soldier
though his salute, at times, was lacking
and he rolled his eyes at an order or two
he was first, he was always, a warrior

no battle, no foe, no odds were too great
whomever be the victim of injustice
whenever, wherever, such evil was at work
he rose, without hesitation, to meet it

often overworked, underappreciated
left to the impossible, he’d draw strength
thinking of his ‘why’, his home, his family
of fantasy drafts and children’s dance recitals

those who thought him stern or harsh
they never saw that, nor would he let them
no one needed to know why he fought
what, to him, meant more than all he had

they didn’t know, this man who sought death
saw life as the most precious of all gifts
and saw those who unjustly injured or took it
as deserving a full measure of the law’s wrath

now, his talents recognized, he moves on
his experience, its wisdom, put to fresh use
while we, as his colleagues, will miss much
the community gains, as he takes his new oath

for my friend, the Honorable Thomas Coleman

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