An acquaintance I've worked with shared one of his writings looking for music to go with it. A poem or short story it was and I arranged/edited the words very slightly to go with the construct of the song. Thanks Michael Love for helping with this one.
I saw him standing with bowed head
beside the stream of life;
he spent his days among the dead,
who live the death of strife.
His crime was murder some had said,
while others said 'twas theft.
This awful statue of the dead
never looked to right nor left.
But, as his blood had ebbed away,
so had his will been sapped.
I strained to hear what he might say:
this man whom men had trapped.
He looked into a tragic day,
when fate his face had slapped.
With vacant eye he seemed to be
like one who walked in a trance.
Out of those eyes the man could see,
but no kin was in his glance.
The hull was there, but just a stare,
where fires of life had burned.
For greetings fair he did not care,
these absently he spurned.
Society's dreadful device,
left no soul to his own.
His mind is but a chunk of ice,
held in a frozen zone.
They said he had a dept to pay,
the fault was all his own~
When vulture justice had his way,
mercy the coop had flown!
He labored hard day after day,
just like a big machine;
The same old task, the same old way;
stir maddening routine.
As years went by with happy song,
he saw his friends go free~
but when the years of hope were gone,
he not care nor see~
Without a hope without a song;
"what matters it?" said he.
A man not mad, a man not dead;
what's this that men have made?
A living man whose soul has fled;
let's call a spade a spade.
O friend, where has sweet mercy sped?
What man dares ask for justice dry,
with no drop of mercy.
From God or man, could you or I
not ask her to nurse me?
If grim justice for you cry,
do not I out worse thee?
So forget not the hapless poor,
who stand outside of life's stream
behind some cruel prison door,
and lives but in a dream.
For some mistake he made before,
age had taught him life's way.
I say remember him before,
he's old and gray.