#barristerpoetry – a blossoming of talent in the timeline
Posted on 28th May 2016 in Uncategorised
Over the last couple of weeks a Twitter hashtag started by an employment law barrister has taken flight and prompted a stream of witty contributions. As the gardens of the Inns of Court bloomed in the glorious sunshine outside, barristers chafing indoors at their desks in chambers or waiting for their case to come on at court idled away the time by giving a legal twist to their favourite lines of verse. In this post we collect some of our favourite examples of #barristerpoetry and add a couple of our own.
Sean Jones QC started it all with a bit of Shakespeare:
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
I must insist on a response. It is susceptible to a yes or no answer.
To which Emma Jackson and Richard VB responded with Edgar Allen Poe:
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak & weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten ‘law’
Quoth the Raven, never more.
Soon others piled in as well, with Andrew Marvell, Dylan Thomas, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Geoffrey Chaucer, Lewis Carroll, William Blake, John Betjeman, TS Eliot and others, plus of course more Shakespeare. And some original verse.
Had we but world enough and where necessary an Order extending time for the service of these proceedings
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,
Thou must note this is not intended to be a trades description
O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo
Persons stepping onto this balcony do so at their own risk
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage rage that your luggage didn’t make the flight.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways
that are not covered by that restraining order
I vow to thee on bended knee
Criminals shall not go free!
Hope doth fade – it’s nearly noon,
Trapped inside a witness room
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree
With the defects set out in the Scott Schedule appended hereto
April is the cruellest month.
All Schedules have to be recalculated for pay increases, tax and NI
What would you have, you curs
That like not peace nor war.
The division of shared assets
Without using a chain saw?
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
That is the case for the Crown
And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
If so you may have a claim for adverse possession
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by opposing counsel to make a trap for fools
Injunct the clocks, Anton Piller the telephone, Mareva the dog with a juicy bone
Dr Foster went 2 Glos’ter, in a shower of rain.
His clerks made a muddle,
hs brief was a fuddle
+ his fee was less than his train
Come friendly bombs and fall on the County Court at Slough.
It isn’t fit for humans now!
“I am Ozymandias, King of Kings
Look on my wor…”
If I could just stop you there, Mr Ozymandias and turn you to tab 21…
who cares who bears
the loss that cost
one more weekend
of study door
closed on those I
love? only me? sigh
We’ll prove them both
And then you’ll pay us.
I must go to that QC again,
To that lonely silk, and say Hi.
And all they’ll ask is for a sip
And my shoulder on which to cry.
The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
She whips a pistol from her knickers.
Moving on then to Count 2
They set up trusts your mum & dad
They may not mean to but they do
Resulting & constructive bad
Estoppel pretty useless too
The Moving Finger writes; &, having writ, Moves on:
subject to the slip rule s.155 Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act
When I am on old woman I shall wear purple
And serve just enough time on the Bench to qualify for a Judicial pension
1/2 Had I Butterworths embroidered precedents,
Enwrought with golden and silver terms of art,
I would spread my pleadings
2/2 under your feet. But I, being poor, have no legal aid,
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Had we but money enough, and time, This delay, counterparty, were no crime
Half a league, half a league, half a league onward
into the valley of death rode the Legal 500
Canon law to the right of them, Canon law to the left of them
How much do I love thee?
As much as is reasonable and foreseeable and not contrary to public policy
“I met a traveller from an Antique Land who said I “have a well founded fear of persecution””
sad but true
Do I dare
Disturb the judge?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a higher court will reverse.
Fear no more the heat o’ The Sun,
Nor furious Daily Mail rages;
For PJS has his day in court won,
… and his legal team got their wages.
Much have I travelled in the realms of gold, and many goodly sights and kingdoms seen.
Though not on criminal legal aid.
And then, perhaps more suited to Twitter’s word-limit, we have the #barristerhaiku or plain #haiku thread, of which these two examples are the best:
List office forgot
Sigh – my case won’t be called on
Today; home I go
We don’t say M’Lud,
Nor do we say “objection!”,
Also – no gavels.
Finally, a tribute to the law from a poet (Percy Bysshe Shelley)
Image via Longreads
That’s it. Many thanks to all who contributed to the theme and thanks (in expectation) for allowing us to reproduce it here. Apologies to the many others we didn’t include.
Enjoy the Bank Holiday Weekend.
Comments welcome on Twitter @TheICLR.