This is my first attempt at a, chronologically confused,Haibun. I’m not entirely sure I’ve got the hang of it but it was fun trying. For other examples, please follow the link.
King Otto the Penultimate of Schleswig-Holstein had his moments, like all despots do. He was a tyrant, a philistine, a philanderer; his twenty-years on the throne did more damage to his state than the machinations of either Bonaparte or Bismarck. It would be the usual combination of syphillis and hubris that undid him in the end but not before he’d had an epiphany of sorts.
He wasn’t around when Fyodor Dostoyevsky made his remark about societies being judged by the way they treat their prisoners, but he did find himself embracing the cause of penal reform. It wouldn’t have done to let the insurrectionists go, but he could make sure they were kept in fitting conditions. The only trouble was, he was such an unappealing autocrat that he’d set most of the country against him. Eventually, even his finest architects ran out of ideas and were forced to repeat themselves. At least some of their creations are still standing; the cylindrical prisons for millers and lighthouse keepers are particularly breathtaking.
No prison has walls
Harder to scale than those
We put up ourselves