English poetry

Poems in English


The Prisoners

Steel doors – guillotine gates –
Of the doorless house closed massively.
We were locked in with loss.

Guards frisked us, marked our wrists,
Then let us into the drab Rec Hall –
Splotched green walls, high windows barred –

Where the dispossessed awaited us.
Hands intimate with knife and pistol,
Hands that had cruelly grasped and throttled

Clasped ours in welcome. I sensed the plea
Of men denied: Believe us human
Like yourselves, who but for Grace…

We shared reprieving Hidden Words
Revealed by the Godlike imprisoned
One, whose crime was truth.

And I read poems I hoped were true.
It’s like you been there, brother, been there,
The scarred young lifer said.


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Poem The Prisoners - Robert Hayden