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.

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