The Washington Post

John Leopold pens a poem, literary essay, from Anne Arundel jail

Leopold in Annapolis in January. (Astrid Riecken for The Washington Post)

John R. Leopold turned to literary pursuits during his 30 days behind bars. After completing his time for misconduct in office (enlisting county staff to handle his personal and campaign affairs), the former Anne Arundel County executive sent a poem, “The Inmate,” to the Capital newspaper:

From feet to forehead,
Street-smart eyes and shoulders
Want to be kind,
Code permitting.

Steers a tortuous path
Through odious thickets
Unknown to safe, well-lit streets
And caring discipline.

Wayward weeds
In harsh soils
Stir sentient gods
To flower
Inmate honor.

Leopold, 70, also sent the paper a two-page essay reflecting upon the view from his cell window (a “winding ribbon of Weems Creek was a calming, mitigating influence”), his long reading list, and the kind treatment he got from officers and fellow inmates. The Capital checked in with a couple of poets to help interpret Leopold’s work, so go there to read more.

More Reliable Source: Reese Witherspoon; Kevin Spacey; Neil Diamond; Sen. Tom Coburn; Jennifer Hudson



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Making family dinnertime happen
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
New limbs for Pakistani soldiers
Play Videos
A veteran finds healing on a dog sled
Learn to make this twice-baked cookie
How to prevent 'e-barrassment'
Play Videos
Syrian refugee: 'I’m committed to the power of music'
The art of tortilla-making
Michael Bolton's cinematic serenade to Detroit
Play Videos
Circus nuns: These sisters are no act
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
Cool off with sno-balls, a New Orleans treat
Next Story
Amy Argetsinger · April 21, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.