A grim judge in frontier Arizona, circa 1880.
There was a judge who was a drudge
in frontier Arizona west;
he made his home in Old Tombstone
but rarely did he have a guest.
There was not much that he would touch
beyond the study of the law;
to old Judge Diehm there was no gleam
in much of anything he saw.
And he was tough upon the rough,
the rowdy who would come along;
he'd lock away the light of day
or even hang the dark at dawn.
Once Sheriff Bland was on the stand
defending men from Stagecoach South;
but Diehm was short and with a snort
just ordered Bland to shut his mouth.
The Branch Saloon was up at noon
and there the judge would have a shot;
he'd slap the door and spur the floor,
and hit the spittoon on the spot.
Twelve shot-up chairs with rooms upstairs--
Annie Leecoats proprietor;
she was quite shrewd but seldom rude,
yet slipped a silver derringer.
She thought it fun to show that gun
to anyone the bar would find;
Diehm raised his drink, began to think
about her gun's unique design.
Then one July he had to try
a case in which Doc Adams swore;
Doc's microscope gave Diehm more hope
and made him wonder all the more.
The case complete, with blazing heat,
Diehm bought a ticket for the coast;
his mind was stirred and what occurred
made all of San Francisco boast.
He swapped his robe for wonder's probe
in timeless opportunity;
he noted things like seagull's wings,
and so he courted poetry.
(Before his death, Hezekiah befriended a young man who also showed
a keen interest in writing. That young man's name was Jack London.)