Inside Poetry for National Poetry Day

Our Book of the Month for September has been chosen by William Sieghart who founded National Poetry Day so we thought we would put up a poem a week in the month leading up to National Poetry Day on October 2nd 2014. The poems have been kindly selected for us by Rachel Billington and were published in the August 2014 edition of Inside Time, the National Newspaper for Prisoners and Detainees.

The Prison Library – Star Poem

From Paul Baichoo – HMP Thameside

No mobile phones
But cellular voices pervade this graceful place
Carefully caressed curses and echoes etched into its wooden shelves
Heated chatter burns down to choral embers
Slightly quieter than the waterloo and city line
Bio’s, bibles and suicide notes
Secrete from this otherwise civilised revision of a literary den
Those playing chess mutter cultured observations of their time at Her Majesty’s pleasure
Whilst the aisles are swanned by those seeking profundity in the unknown
Orderlies rescue the dyslexic brave, the adventurous and the broken hearted
I loiter and footle with Peter the political journalist
Posting myriad ways to occupy two and a half years
Give or take His Honours subtractions
Magazine skimmers brace brazenly the latest quarterlies
For bums and bras
Still waters lap lazily against the disordered shores of the self-help section
Multi-faceted rough diamonds shine their prisms of light through Rosetta Stones
Beggars burglars and banqueters steal space and time against a deadline of sixty minutes
Socially elastic, eclectic and often enthusiastic crowds
Fall in awkwardly upon each other for support, wisdom and skinny burn
But above all. this non revenue reading venue
Where information its greatest commodity
Freely given and widely accepted
By freedom fighters and terrorists alike
Contains revolution within its nefarious walls of danger and free thought
Bringing hope to many, joy to few and knowledge to all
Is a sanctuary bound within barbed razor wire
Surrounded by steep grey walls where hope may die
But those who seek intellectual asylum within its creative womb
Are reborn. Quietly. Anonymously
Where manslaughter subsides revealing sensitive prose of truth
Where courage wrestles uncertainty and finds solace
And late fines are kindly waived for the noble and the bold
Here we of so much faith take refuge in the heightened security
Of life in the bus lane
And find comfort here where demons leave their issues at the door
And let us have our moment
Where the unenlightened hope to embrace new states of mind
And dead presidents whisper “Quiet Please”
Here where patience died
And softly spoken words were drowned by harsh digs, movement and raised voices
We experience number fifty on the bucket list
And although afraid of death
These passengers are not afraid of life
And here on this timely journey we congregate and search
Amongst science and nature. Fact and fiction
For our own personal ‘Piper at the gates of dawn’
And safety at the hearth of like-minds
A place amongst the throws and vices of the subtle riot
To call our own








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