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Updated on May 9, 2011

By: Wayne Brown


Thick, painted steel bars form a door and a wall

Some stainless fixtures, a mattress bunk; that’s all

A 4x8 cell is my stark white long-term sanctuary

This is life as it is known here in my prison solitary



There’s no television, no internet, no outside news

The tick of the clock marks the paying of dues

A paperback, a Bible, and some old letters to read

Offers the only substance on which a mind can feed



The stark white walls lit by brightly caged light

No other human beings, not a soul within sight

There’s time to contemplate and time to worry

Here in this confined life of my prison solitary



Supper’s at seven; at eight, it’s light out for the night

No windows to the outside to catch a glimpse of light

In here there’s no difference between night and day

In here things stay the same; will remain this way



Thirty minutes a day alone in a fenced workout yard

Nothing to do but sweat; work your muscles hard

Guard watches me like gazing on a bird in a cage

And I seem but an actor alone on this stage



Days to weeks, weeks to months, months to years

The agonizing time alone is the sum total of my fears

Every five years I sit before prison board for query

The verdict’s the same and I return to prison solitary



Once in a while loved ones visit me through the glass

Nervous conversations until the time is finally past

Then the guard returns me to my oh-so-familiar cell

To endure the never-ending silence of this solitary hell



My being here is not the fault of anyone but my own

I could have had a normal life but now I sit here alone

But I chose a wayward path, stolen money; no worry

I alone elected this lonesome perch in prison solitary



Though like a caged bird I may be, God is in my heart

I came to know him here in the loneliness of this dark

Though my days here be long; my release yet untold

My hearts flies with the angels; God lives in my soul




© Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.


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    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @MartieCoetser....Thanks Martie...I have the same problem on some hubbers. I am sure I miss a lot. Glad you found this one. Your comments ring so true...we can be prisoners of our own life...without bars. WB

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 6 years ago from South Africa

      And yet, for so many solitary confinement, whether in a jail or not, becomes the only life they are able to live. They just don’t know what they are missing. Wayne, because of some technical problem HP can’t manage to fix, I don’t receive any notifications of published hubs via e-mail for several months now, so I’ve missed many of the hubs published by hubbers I follow. Now with the new homepage I’m spotting them one by one, and I’m glad I’ve spotted this one too. You have a remarkable ability to experience life in the shoes of someone else.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @dahoglund...I don't really know either. I think it might be a little bit of both. I know that desire normally does not totally carry the water in most cases but it sure helps. Thanks DA. WB

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I don't know if writers are born or developed but it is a good poem that gets to the soul.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Motown2Chitown...Maybe you can convince a few others! LOL! Thank you...that is such a wonderful and humbling comment but it is exactly what I try to do when I write is to put the reader there to the greatest extend that I can marshal. Glad you liked it! WB

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      Motown2Chitown 6 years ago

      Wayne, only a born writer can make you believe he stands in the shoes of the character who speaks in his story or poem. You, my dear, are a born writer.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas poetry always seems to open doors that I cannot anticipate. Heck, most of the time I don't even understand why I am writing the poem!LOL! That's okay...glad to see that it affects people in different ways. You example is a good one as depression is in many ways solitary confinement for the individual suffering with it and those around them have to really look close to pick it up. Actually, prison solitary is probably less dangerous as the person suffering it may actual be thinking raise a very good counter point. Things are good dark side emerges now and then and I satisfy it with a piece of writing. WB

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Wayne, this poem stood the hairs up on the back of my neck, not just for the meaning in it as it is written, but also for an alternative conversation for some one struggling with depression too. I often see several answers/meanings to your verse, and like always are in awe of your talent. Long time no hear my friend, I hope you are well?

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 6 years ago

      Your welcome my friend, yes you summed it up."It came out of of those that I don't know why I wrote it but I felt the need." How very true indeed, mystery is my inspiration and my muse pushes me as always, thus I come back time and time again, besides I miss my friends and thirst for their words and you fill my glass often. Peace and enjoy your weekend.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @saddlerider...Hey Ken! Great to see you out of the cave and moving about. You know that muse of yours is never going to let you walk away from something you do so know that don't you? I surely hope so. Glad you liked this. It came out of of those that I don't know why I wrote it but I felt the need. WB

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 6 years ago

      My fellow scribe, nice to be back to peruse your latest. I have been buried in my own solitary of sorts and the Raven has whispered in my ear, "You must continue to write."

      I have placed the empty wine bottles where they belong and snuffed out the shortened wick, I am back once more to read and comment to one of my favorite writers, I offer apology for my absence.

      Thank you for sharing this man's loneliness in a cell of his own making, we pay the price for our sins and God awaits us and we come to him in our humbleness on bended knee and for many it comes in a cold cold cell. Well written my friend, applause. Peace

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Pamela99...This is another one that I can't explain the inspiration to write just came to me. I guess I need to just go with it and quit wondering why! LOL! WB

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 6 years ago from United States

      Very powerful poem and I could feel the emotions of the prisoner as the poem seemed so real. God lives in my soul is a great last line.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Alastar Packer...many question whether or not prisons have any redeeming virtue but they stop short of asking whether those who populate the prison have any redeeming virtue themselves. Certainly spirituality plays into that answer in a big way. A person must reach a mindset upon which they decide that a life of continuing crime is not a future just as a smoker sooner or later comes to terms with cigarettes. Until that mindset is obtained and there is some sustenance to perpetuate it, men will come and go in the prison process. I guess my muse understands that...LOL! WB

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Many say the majority are putting on faith to gain favor with parole boards, but that's not true I suspect. If a person in that situation has any conscience at all, then that Grand Love that passeth serenity is all that's really left. The muse and your talent has come wise and well here.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Hypenbird...I have been low on poetic inspiration lately so this one comes at a good time though it may be a bit dark. I found it challenging to try create the environment of solitary in verse. I also wanted the reader to feel that this man for all he was not had learned something from his mistakes.

      @H P Roychoundhury...Thank you so much...that's my favorite line in the verse. WB

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 6 years ago from Guwahati, India

      Beautiful poetic expression "God lives in my soul".Thanks.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Just beautiful Wayne. This brings to mind a pen pal who has no family and is in prison for a life term. It took compassion for you to follow the muse to this.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Truckstop Sally...The fiction came over a few days last week but the poem came over about a half-hour this afternoon. Normally my inspiration on poems is like that..very resolute. If it does not flow quickly, I usually am working the wrong subject or the wrong perspective. Thanks for the good words! WB

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      Powerful! Beautiful poem! Loved the last line: My hearts flies with the angels; God lives in my soul

      Gives us hope. The video/song is amazing too!

      You have been a busy boy! So much intrigue and passion in one day. I am spent just reading!!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @mckbirdbks...My poetic inspiration has not been raised as of late. This one came to me today and although it was dark, I felt that it deserve to fly. There was a bit of a challenge in immersing the reader in the feeling of solitary...since I had never spent time there! Thanks much! WB

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Wayne. That is grey Monday reading. I could hear that clock ticking.