In this edition of the Insights from Inmates blog, we are showcasing the poetic talents of some of the prisoners involved in our projects. Life behind bars is hard for everyone, and the experiences which lead people to end up in prison can be incredibly difficult. An important step towards successful rehabilitation is to talk about these issues, and express whichever feelings are being felt. Prose is an ideal outlet for inmates to speak their minds, and share what has happened in their lives, and we are privileged that they should share these words with us.
We hope you enjoy the following contributions from Karuhanga Serapio and “K. H.”
Please note that for prisoners’ own protection, names are changed, and that as per prison policy, anything written in prison must be vetted by prison staff before leaving prison.
Karuhanga Serapio (Upper Prison, Luzira, Kampala) – My Plight
Groomed, prosperous in life to be
I was in all meant to excel.
That all, I would not now see
Nor had I seen life to tell
My needs to have
My needs to love
The sun rose as if it would not again
No, as it had never done before
To shine with no sign of rain
My spirits were high
As though to fly
In a dock I stand accused
For a felony I know not of
Real means, now not used
As the panel goes on, hot
Time is hard
This trial is hard
Outside I can hear heavy rain
Or, is it my own tears?
To feed my curiosity I look again
And confirms my fears
Now I am gone
My life torn
As if from slumber I hear an alarm
It’s a siren of a police car
Like a child starved, I raise my arm
For a last wave to my sister afar
The car stands by
Adieu, says I
My ears hear bells rung
Inside I feel my heart roaming
Yes, I am sentenced to hang
As the sun sets in the morning
Lo! This can not be
If be, why me?
“K.H.” (Remand Prison, Luzira, Kampala) – Walls & Fences
For an act which the authorities have yet to prove;
But they decide to confine you behind walls surrounded by fences!
Rights are taken away from you,
Family is missed,
Friends not seen,
Favourite dish not served,
So painful is the sight of walls and fences.
Time is limited and often calculated for you – indeed you are a prisoner.
A person with limited or no freedom, behind walls and fences.
You’ll never see dusk fall – the walls won’t allow.
You will never enjoy a morning bird’s song – the metal door is still locked!
You will never see the sunrise – you’re behind walls!
So inmates remember the walls have no mercy,
And the fence won’t smile,
But God won’t forsake you and the bad conduct we will stop
Lest we will be condemned and brought again
Behind walls and fences!