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Updated on March 31, 2012

By: Wayne Brown

We watched as the jury foreman of twelve upstanding men

Handed the verdict they’d reached to old Judge Hank Jensen

The judge opened it up to read and to see what the jury did say

The verdict is guilty; looks like they’re hangin’ Tom Phillips today


The courtroom is in chaos as Judge Jensen pronounces his decree

Some just stand in shocked silence just like my brother and me

Ol’ Judge Jensen is a hard one, he’s known to seldom give way

I see it in his eyes straight way, they’re hangin’ Tom Phillips today


Tom Phillips, this jury finds you guilty of the crimes so accused

The Sheriff here will hang ya’, the town facilities will be used

And with that he rapped his gavel, there was nothing left to say

The Judge has given them the nod, they’re hangin’ Tom Phillips today


Tom Phillips rode up on the rustlers who shot a rancher in bushwhack

Tom rode upon the rancher, tried to save him, as he fired his pistol back

The old man died in Tom’s arms while those rustlers just rode away

Now he’s been convicted of his death, they’re hangin’ Tom Phillips today



My brother and I watch in horror as they drag Tom Phillips on outside

Already there is a rope hanging over a limb and a horse ready to ride

They throw Tom up over the saddle, not one objection does anyone say

The noose is on, the horse is ready, Tom Phillips will be hangin’ today


The ol’ Sheriff gives a yell and stamps his feet, the spurs on his boots jangle

The horse bolt from under Tom leaving him there to twist, quiver and dangle

His neck has snapped and his life is draining, there nothing left to see or say

The crowd got what they want, justice was served, Tom Phillips hanged today


©Copyright WBrown2010. All Rights Reserved.





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    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Truckstop Sally...The only thing my brother and I knew is that we believed Tom Phillips version of the story. But Tom got convicted on the "circumstantial" evidence and the judge hung a good man. WB

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      Why didn't someone object? The narrator and/or his brother knew something. What? It doesn't seem like justice was served. Maybe I'm naive, but . . . this one leaves me . . . bothered. Guess that is what you were tryin' to do. Damn, you are good!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 7 years ago from Texas

      @bayoulady..Thank you..your correlations is quite a compliment! WB

      @SilverGenes...I appreciate the kind words. The western genre seems to come a bit easier for me at the moment than other things. I am really pleased with the response. Thanks so much for the read and nice comments. WB

      @Springboard...I think you make a reasonable both cases the honest are being hanged! WB

      @Pamela99....I don't disagree. At least when they hanged the wrong guy they didn't make him wait 10 years for it! Thanks for the read, Pam. WB

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Wayne, Sometimes I think if justice was swifter today we would have a lot less problems. I enjoyed you hub very much.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      Sort of like what happened to Arizona in a way. Tom Phillips wasn't the bad guy, really, was he? He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and someone had to take the rap. Arizona only wants to protect its people, but the feds want to hang Brewer for treading on their ground.

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 7 years ago

      Very powerful poem, WB. You have a way of bringing an entire story to life with a few words and that is TALENT! Reading this was like watching a film trailer - wow!

    • bayoulady profile image

      bayoulady 7 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

      Good poem. A quick read, but lettin' it simmer a bit, it gets real deep.Deep. Reminds me of The Green Mile.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 7 years ago from Texas

      @bsscorpio8...Thanks much, I appreciate the read. Keep on hubbin! WB

      @GojiJuiceGoodness...I alway loved that Clint Eastwood movie, "Unforgiven" because there was so much realism in terms of the hard living and the quick justice. WB

      @breakfastpop.....Ya think I'm just lucky or I plan it that way, Poppy? LOL WB

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago


      You are amazing. Everything you write resonates with me.

    • GojiJuiceGoodness profile image

      GojiJuiceGoodness 7 years ago from Roanoke, Virginia

      @saddlerider1--Good idea. It is crazy how long people sit on death row. Sometimes justice was too swift back in the old days, but we've got the opposite problem today.

      Good poem, Wayne. It sure caught my attention!

    • bsscorpio8 profile image

      bsscorpio8 7 years ago

      Beautiful man.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 7 years ago from Texas

      @Tom Whitworth...Thanks much, Tom...glad you enjoyed it! WB

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 7 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      Great hub!!!!

      It sounds like Tom Phillips was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I have been there myself a couple of times!!!!!!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 7 years ago from Texas

      @Ken R. Abell..Ken, great to see you about. I heard you were busy with that new book, etc. I hope things are going good for you! Thanks for you great comment! WB

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Wayne - Great stuff, as usual. Love the rhythm. I've been on & off the road for almost a month--still got a couple weeks of running to do. I've missed my regular Hub reading. This was a good one to come back too. Thanks.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 7 years ago from Texas

      @Tony Flanigan...I hope that means you like it! LOL! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! WB

      @rasenstars1...I guess they made a few mistakes but we stll do today...nothing has changed except the speed! WB

      @saddleride1...I think it would increase the deterrence factor. If we have a death penalty, let's have a rather swift one! WB

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 7 years ago

      Your right rasenstars,justice was swift in those days. Unlike today where a cold bloodied murderer sits on death row for years eating 3 meals a day off the backs of taxpayers. Where is justice served by doing that.

      They should bring back the hangman's rope and like young Willy Nelson say's he would be the hangman. It's from one of his tunes he shares with Tobey Keith..Whiskey for my horses:0)

    • rasenstars1 profile image

      rasenstars1 7 years ago

      That is the way it went. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but they did not wait years to die.

    • Tony Flanigan profile image

      Tony Flanigan 7 years ago from East London, South Africa