The judge was stern, but his heart did yearn
As he looked at the youthful face.
If there were only some way that he could say
Who’s to blame for this disgrace.

The youth stood there with a jaunty air
His parents’ eyes burning with tears.
For they just couldn’t see how this could be.
Hadn’t they raised him all these years?

He was taken away, he had to pay
For the sins of the human race.
The courtroom was still, it had lost its thrill,
Then the bailiff called, “Next case!”

In a short while they’ll walk that last mile
A few whom we see here today.
And we sit, you and me, too blinded to see
That we led this child astray.

How did he err this youngster so fair
Was this killing really his crime?
Ought we to have stilled this mad urge to kill
Or didn’t we have the time?

How many days in how many ways
Does false pride influence our lives,
While you and I stand idly by
As hate and avarice thrives?

For want of gain we let lust o’er us reign
Advertisings polluted with sex.
Then we look at our youth and think them uncouth
And wonder what they will do next.

Can we be proud or condemn them aloud
When decency’s lacking in us?
Our morals are sinking, we do things unthinking
We’re deaf to the harm it does.

He bears not your name, but your guilt’s the same
Of obstacles placed in his way.
It’s crime we provoke to take as a joke
The trial transpiring today.

So to save our youth let’s face the truth
Let’s each heed his conscience’s plea.
Let’s clean up this life, let’s do it up right
Let’s start it with you and me.

Comment from Marlyn Kinney: prompted by a headline news story