Prisoners around the world often tell us how much they like reading and seeing other prisoner’s poems, pictures and creative writing. Here is a selection of poems and artwork.

Thoughts on time

Time clings to my skin, as does stickiest resin.
Greedy in its purpose, the unrelenting consumption of youth, the sloughing of my flesh.
He is a hunter, peeling back the layers before the meat, selling spring-harvested organs to the highest bidder.
Haunting, he yells “plumpest, juiciest of skins! Moisture-rich! And elastic! Feats on the newness, but be quick!
It’s being taken fast, for the bargain price of half a life!”
With each breath, my life slips and ebbs. It flees with every smile, each simple movement, the blinking of my eyes.
And time? He sits atop my breast, claws slicing to the bone, and with every gorge, drains that which should be sacrosanct.
He turns my gaze, my thoughts, my very essence to the hanging clock. He breathes, chill and slick ‘tick tock’, laughing at me, at the folly of existence.
A single second passes. Hope, she who is lost and greatest of all things, weakens. She is jaded, sickly, in proportion to her hours.
Time forces her outwards and away. Her voice, the song of light she calls, is hardly now an echo, like the falling of sand.
Above Her is Time’s cacophony. His look is knowing, sly. ”You don’t have long. No-one ever does have too long, you see.
You’re an example in futility. It stares out at you from every looking glass, each mirrored surface. From the moment you were born, you decayed.
And nowhere you sit, a stagnant pool; scum-topped, putrid, a breeding ground for loss. A relic of little words, lost to sight and memory.
A meaningless wish, the shadow on a harem wall. Your promised blooming fled, vanquished by your descent, the fall from grace.
Such things never come again. After all, what fruits are there that ripen twice? None. They’d never have the Time.”
He is cruel in his unceasing forward march, the never-ending constancy of moving onwards, his deaf ear and blind eye.
Yet still I beg, as we all do and seemingly must: “Please, more time!” An entreaty that beats to the rhythm of shedded pride. “Just a little more!”
Let me not grow old. Leave me as I am, as they who have loved me remember. Give me the chance to re-do, remake, restart!
Time! I beg of you, Time! A little more, only a little! The meerest scrape! Let me go back. Have me still be fresh and beautiful,
As yet still filled by hope, a believer in dreams. Do not leave me to wither with age as the world goes on… Do not let me fade! I beg of you, mercy!
But my answer, the only answer, comes from the clock:
‘Tick tock, Caladel, tick tock’

CSB, Japan

Judge us not

Like the season,
People change.
Where one judges the same old cover,
The other sees the little difference in us;
Like the butterfly we have emerged anew,
Forever changed.
Judge us not for the crimes we paid for,
But for our choice to change,
To better ourselves,
To become who we are meant to be.
We became better;
Through choice we are changed.
Are you?

Jordan, USA

The shape of you

It is the night of many colours
They swell from universe to universe
Sailing on a cosmic wind
Through dark Plath-like gases
To this blue veined planet
All that can share
Is caught in the viral note
Like music from a singing shore
More sway than song and long-stringed
Like the theory of everything
Where dreams are piled
Into the brains of whales
Forever swimming against the tide
Of humanity and religious word
Like a bomb waiting to go bang
And make all things begin again
In stars that follow the shape of you.

David, France

Snoring rhapsody

The meds are due at eight
The Seroquel’s late again
The snoring usually starts
Just around half past ten.

Sometimes it starts
One cell at a time
But tonight they’re all bloody early
It’s only half past nine.

One cell, two cell
Three, then four
For the next eight hours
It’s a deafening roar.

I suppose for me I’m like a lamb
That’s just learned how to bleat
My prayer to my God tonight
Is Lord, can I please have
Some sodding sleep?

They say there’s only one way
To try and remove this nightly curse
And that’s to ask her on her next round
Hey! Have you got a minute there nurse?

Cos all I want to do tonight
Is try to get over this hill
And if it’s the only way to get some sleep
Please nurse, give me a sleeping pill.

So at last my eyes begin to flutter
To keep them open, I try my very best
But the sleeping pill is now working
So it looks like I’m going to join in with the rest

For now I’m at peace and not know of the
Snoring rhapsody
Please forgive me all who are listening
I can assure you what you’re hearing

Roy, USA