Tag Archive | Prison Poetry


“You only know loss when you’ve felt it.

Suffered the shadow of a gun.”

Recently I took the lead on editing a special tenth anniversary bumper edition of HMP Wakefield’s prison magazine The Signpost and, to mark the anniversary, we committed to emphasising the theme of ten.

One way we did this was to collaborate in the Creative Writing class on a set of ten poems, of ten lines each, where each line is written by a different prisoner. We called it Ten by Ten Poetry and Loss was my favourite of the poems we produced.

You can read the full poem here.

Seasonal Revelations

Only hope stays above ground.”

I very rarely plan to write poetry in a particular form. I usually just start and the form either finds itself or it all becomes a piece of free verse. That’s something I hope to change this year. I want to write in as many different forms as possible. To experiment. To see what I like.

Seasonal Revelations are a set of Haiku (or Haiku No Renga), based upon the biblical nature of the seasons and the year. I originally wrote them for a creative writing class at HMP Frankland and I must admit that I don’t like the form all that much, but they still hold meaning for me as each year blurs into the next and time leaves me behind.

You can have a read of the full set in my Poetry section.

It’s You

My love is a pure white rose

with a single shining thorn.

It’s You is a poem I wrote years ago. I had just met The Woman with Eyes of Fire (see my story The Fire and the Sea for details) and was struggling to get my head around my feelings for her, especially given our situation. Then I read some poetry by Robert Burns and decided to start a poem from one of his lines and work into what I really wanted to say from there. I never gave this poem to her as such, but a couple of years after I wrote it she did happen to read it (along with most of my poems) when she got hold of my notebook. She didn’t have a clue it was about her until we got back in contact just last year.

You can read the full poem in my Poetry Section.