Professor Groot died Saturday of a heart attack while on a hunting trip. Most of you will never meet him, but he was a mentor to me. He was a large, intimidating, growling ex-Marine law professor whose intellectual rigor was matched only by his faith and his goodness. Roger Groot was a giant of anti-death penalty advocacy and damn fine defense attorney and teacher to boot. He inspired loyalty and dedication. He hiked the Appalachian Trial at age 50 and read 'The Brothers Karamazov' in Russian. He dipped tobacco and spit it in a styrofoam cup. If you never met him, you missed out on a lot. Many hypocrites and philistines are exhaling very deeply today. "...and death shall have no dominion" hung on a giant banner over his office door.
"Prof. Roger D. Groot does not mind being unpopular. Professor Groot has been a thorn in the side of prosecutors and prison officials in this law-and-order state for decades." - New York Times, 2003.
And Death Shall Have No Dominion by Dylan Thomas
And death shall have no dominion. Dead men naked they shall be one With the man in the wind and the west moon; When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone, They shall have stars at elbow and foot; Though they go mad they shall be sane, Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again; Though lovers be lost love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.
And death shall have no dominion. Under the windings of the sea They lying long shall not die windily; Twisting on racks when sinews give way, Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break; Faith in their hands shall snap in two, And the unicorn evils run them through; Split all ends up they shan't crack; And death shall have no dominion.
And death shall have no dominion. No more may gulls cry at their ears Or waves break loud on the seashores; Where blew a flower may a flower no more Lift its head to the blows of the rain; Though they be mad and dead as nails, Heads of the characters hammer through daisies; Break in the sun till the sun breaks down, And death shall have no dominion.