Love Letters 4: Justice

An adage from my advertising days was, if you want people to catch one ball… throw them one ball. Throw them ten and they’ll catch the wrong one. Or none. This axiom is as important in creative writing. A poem with several points is a roll of barbed wire; a poem with one point is an arrow. (Capable of breaking a heart, or killing a king.)

This poem is both an extended metaphor and an extended comparison. Other linguistic techniques are subtle. Light alliteration “gleam” & “gold” / “hear” & “hurt” / “ broad” & “brave” / “fairness”, “frightening” & “fragile” is threaded through the sonnet.  An oxymoron draws attention to the ability of the addressee to “hear the … mute”; caesura in line eight emboldens the sentence “You help everyone”; and an allusion in the capping couplet (to another statuesque lady) completes the metaphorical exploration.

Justice, they say, is blind to influence
Sees not the gleam of scimitar or gold
Yet she is armed to fight in the defence
Of barons who have this deception sold.
You stand for justice without a faux mask
Or need for statues to each battle won;
You hear the hurt and mute who cannot ask
For your assistance. You help anyone.
The broad brave arm you use to wield your sword
You place around the struggling and the weak:
For fairness is not frightening the horde –
It’s heartening the fragile and the meek.
	I love you for the standard you hold high
	The torch you bear for others lights the sky.

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