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Prison poetry III

Prison poetry III

Prison cell with the words 'Prison poetry III" superimposed over it.
Photo by StudioTempura

Never Known by W. P.

The land in which I live has no sun, no moon.
Nor are there stars or even a friendly fire to break my gloom.
It is mostly barren and empty, except for an echo.
From it I try to escape, but can’t find a quiet place to go.
It doesn’t bother me that much anymore, not like the freezing rain,
Which drowns my grief and feelings, and numbs my aching pain.
It is this emptiness that is unbearable, draining me of all faith and hope.
Making my days vulgar and meaningless, like some kind of sick joke,
Which leaves me devoid of emotional connection to the outside world.
While inside I struggle and fight, though I don’t know with whom I quarrel.
Sometimes I think I am losing because I have no sense of reality.
But even if I do fade away into that which some dub fatality.
A spark of me will continue on down this dark abandoned road.
In search of hope I never had and the love I’ve never known.

Time by F. H.

arrested, felon, confinement
prison, the conviction, the complaint;
the process, the demonstration,
the proof, the restraint:

To ponder, meditate, wonder,
my extreme situation;
insanity, to hinder,
my freedom, now incarceration;

Irrational, irreversible moments in Time;
demented, ludicrous, convincing
myself, the perfect crime:

To satisfy society, Time,
make payment, for their relief;
punishment, rehabilitation,
the verdict, their firm belief;

To be caged, placed in a cell
a vault, put in a tomb;
property of the State. Time,
now placed in their womb.

Haiku by E. B. T.

Sun, sky, birds, and grass
Too bad it’s only a dream
Wishing for more sleep

Venerable one
Inside her wisdom, metta
Shines light on the path.

Sorrow’s Hold by W. P.

If you collected every tear
That dropped by the sadness from my eye,
You’d have a raging sea
Underneath a dark, stormy sky,
Where great waves of destruction
Crushed the hope of all I had left,
And frozen memories of pain
Would slowly sink into its depths.

Great birds of prey
Would circle the skies overhead
In the hopes they would find
A part of me not yet dead.
But their search would turn into
An endless flight of despair
As they realize they have flown
Into a life of nowhere.

Deafening cries of silence
Would echo far and near
Like a faithless prayer
Made to gods who can’t hear.
As the acid rain falls down
To the dead sea below,
Overhead new clouds arrive
Searching for a place to call home.

Chilly Night on My Bunk by D. D.

Wrapped in my synthetic cocoon
Metal and concrete all around

I place my palms on my eye sockets
My long fingers cover my head

So God-damn dehumanizing, this place
I say my mantras: Om Vajrasattva Hum
I long for the springtime: Hope, renewal
I think of a rosebud, I think of home
I mourn for my brothers and sisters
everywhere who are incarcerated

I grieve for those imprisoned in samsara
I pray that Mike can go home, to the light
I know Karen is there, so is Paul

Slowly the rose blooms, revealing
Its crimson brilliance; the present moment

What was once asleep is now
Fully awakened
I am Home

Incarcerated people

Many incarcerated people from all over the United States correspond with Venerable Thubten Chodron and monastics from Sravasti Abbey. They offer great insights into how they are applying the Dharma and striving to be of benefit to themselves and others in even the most difficult of situations.

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