Wednesday, June 1, 2016

My A Dorm Canteen Poem

In the prison dormitory I wrote this for my inmates who moan, groan, weep and wail if they don't get to go to canteen. Canteen in prison is like a convenience store for us.  Items are limited and overpriced, but sometimes canteen food is better than normal prison meals.  They don't just sell food. In the canteen you can also purchase good soap, sweet smelling shampoo and deodorant - things that are not issued by the state. The canteen is also like a bank. When prison inmates pay back debts to other inmates, canteen items are the currency.  For example an inmate may say, "I'll write a letter for you for three packs of soup."

A Dorm Canteen
What will this afternoon bring?
I'm proud the dorm is so clean.
Rain may bring a mess,
But we'll do our best.
To help you get to canteen.

Everyday I leave notes in the window or speak with the inmates in a large group to motivate and encourage them to do better. To remember there is life beyond prison for most of them, and to do their best to better themselves.  Overall they are responding well to this type of encouragement, but some of my words are more accepted than others.  When I read this poem to them, they thought I was weird.

As you know the limerick is my favorite way to express short thoughts in the form of a poem. A limerick is a humorous, frequently bawdy, verse of three long and two short lines with a rhyming pattern of aabba.  These were popularized by Edward Lear in the late 1800's who wrote this:

There was a young lady of Niger
who smiled as she rode on a tiger;
They returned from the ride
with the lady inside,
and the smile on the face of the tiger.

For more information on limericks, just Google it.  There is boat loads of information on this style of poetry.

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