Sunday, February 26, 2012

Judge Roy Bean

Writing today’s poem was different. The lines rhyme like they should, but its how the poem evolved that’s different.

 Normally I find a photo that “talks” to me and I can write a poem from the picture’s story. Today’s picture prompted me to find out more information about the legendary Judge Roy Bean. It was the interesting bits of trivia that I found doing research on the internet that eventually came together in a poem. In the picture below, the Judge, seated on the barrel, jug at his side, is holding trial on a suspected horse thief……Enjoy


In the late 1800’s in a tent city called Vinegaroon
A tough hard-drinking man opened a small saloon
Serving whiskey to railway workers from a tent
As his own best customer, his elbow was often bent

As the railroad slowly progressed in its westward quest
He moved his thriving business farther to the west
In this unchartered territory where living was rough
Need soon arose for a lawman and he’d better be tough

When appointed Justice of the Peace, he served with zeal
His court rules were simple: No hung jury and no appeal
Tapping his gun on the bar, “Courts in session,” he exclaims!
He’s the “Law West of the Pecos” just as the sign proclaims

Disturbing the peace was quite often on his docket
The fine. . . . “The change you had in your pocket”
Stories ranged from good, to bad, to “holy smokes”
Legend says that he, as the law, hung a lot of folks

But history suggests all the hangings may not be true
Well, maybe, he said, “Hang ‘um!” to a horse thief or two
Even they may have been “allowed” to escape by night
If they’d return the horse and disappear from his sight

Under this boisterous lawman’s leathery hide
A kind and charitable heart was gently beating inside
To the sick and needy, his charity was often shown
With food and medicine; always as “donor unknown”

It was man versus liquor in a heavy drinking spree
The Judge passed away in the year nineteen-o-three
A rustic museum in Langtry, TX is the historic scene
Where, in Peace, rests the Honorable Judge Roy Bean!

                                                           Poem by Herm Meyer



There is a lot more trivia that is not included in my poem.

Some special areas that I found interesting were his early adventurous life, his family life and his secret “crush” on British actress Lillie Langtry.

It’s rumored that the Judge was responsible for naming the town of Langtry, TX after Lillie. What about the name of his saloon, ’The Jersey Lilly”? Was it just a coincidence?

Did you know that Roy and his brothers were known as the “Frijoles Brothers”? (Frijoles is Mexican for beans)

Doing a “Google” internet search of Judge Roy Bean will provide some interesting reading.

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