Capitol Punishment

The crime was done in darkness,
The trial in floodlight staged,
And with conviction the convicted
Condemned by the enraged.
The choice of chair, or gas, or rope
Was freely offered in the hope
That right and fairness might adhere.
And time to contemplate his fate
Was freely granted, half a year.
He said farewell to kith and kin.
He begged forgiveness for his sin,
Confession and repentance heard,
On bended knee before the Lord.
It seemed the fatal die was cast.
The fatal hour came at last.
They led him shaven to the chamber.
They introduced the waiting press.
They read a government disclaimer.
The priest again heard him confess.
They sat him down and strapped him in.
They watched the clock hand get to ten.
The wardens said their cold goodbyes,
And then they draped his frightened eyes.
They turned and left him there alone.
He took a breath,
Expecting death,
And then the governor was on the phone.