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Service Users' Voices

Poems written by members of the Rubies Group in Eastwood Park


I’d like to visit Blackpool
Count pigeons in the park
I’d like to meet an old lover
Rekindle a forgotten spark
I’d like to see the mountains
Topped with glittering white
To walk in fields of daisies
My secret, out of sight.

I’d like to wear more colours
And not to care when people look
I’d like to talk to tadpoles
In some dappled forest brook
I’d like to hold my Grandchild
And see the northern lights
To even win the lottery and own
Those transparent granny tights!

I’d like to share a cocktail
With some sunny, smiling friend
I’d like to have a hand to hold
When my journey’s at its end
I’d like to see Vienna
To trail my hand in its reflection
And have a steady beating pulse
When I reach life’s intersection.

I WILL. One day I WILL

Dream Sense 

In my dreams I see lions,
I see pixies, clouds, a stream, I see mountains,
A hearth.
I can see me falling.

In my dreams I hear ….
Busy birds, a waterfall, the sea.
Voices, talking,
Seagulls, screaming.
A sigh, a saxophone, tinkling bells.
The exhaust of a Vespa, disappearing into the distance.
I can hear silence.

In my dream I smell disinfectant.
I smell roses, the warmth of a Mediterranean sea,
Basil, lavender, trees and leaves.
My grandmother’s 4711 cologne.
I can smell rain.

In my dream I taste hot chilli, lemons and ripe peaches.
I taste mountain air and snow.
I taste salt.
I taste blood.
I taste my own dry mouth.

In my dream
I touch velvet, wet grass, feathers,
Cat’s fur, a baby’s skin,
The dark silky hair of a man.
I can feel safety.
I touch burning fire.
I can feel freedom. 

Green leaves, blossom, birds singing in the tree
I so wish that I was free.

Another day, routine and gloom
Again I will stay in ‘my room’
Keys, steps and screams
That’s all there is, it seems
Some are good and some are bad
I stay on the good side, I am glad
This will help me to move quicker on
To D or F-wing, with more freedom
I hope the hours-days-weeks-
And months go quick
Seeing my loved ones gives me a fix
Green leaves, blossom, birds singing in the tree
I so wish that I was free.

Does spring still come?
With a story like mine?
No hero
But a victim instead
Birds might still sing
But all I hear
Is clanging metal on metal
No spring green
But dull, army green paint, distortion of colour!
No dawn
As electrics seem to be on
Whenever you don’t want them to
Does spring still come?
Held in the tension
Of tight, suffocating, enduring, disempowering, maddening
Does spring still come?
When you can’t feel beautiful
On the inside
Inside these gates
Locked away behind bars with heavy keys
Judgement and despair
Does spring still come?
On the ‘outside’
When inside my prison walls
No one hears my silenced cry
For understanding and hope


Change is flowing, unreliable, not known,
Change becomes something different, unstoppable and fluid,
Change becomes something else.
Change does not stay still but will grow and shrink,
Change is opposite and the same.
Change gives hope and despair, promises and trepidity,
Change has already started and is both future and the past,
Never visible but can be seen.

Entering into a new place
Expectancy on every face.
But I know there is nothing to prove,
I needn’t fit into any groove.

Accepted with smiles,
Forgetting such trials,
I allow friendship to bloom,
In this once unfamiliar room.

Memories have been made,
Echo’s of laughter that will never fade,
Hands held and stories told,
Reminiscing on days young and old. 

If this Prison were a Poem

If this prison were a pub, it would be …
It wouldn’t serve food,
It would be, rat infested,
Ladies Only,
A bar in Spain.

If this prison were a car, it would be …
An old banger, 3 wheeler, Robin Unreliant,
It would be broken,
A non-starter and
Extortionately priced.
If this prison were a car,
It would have no head lights,
A leaking tank,
It would be a very uncomfortable ride,
A white limo with
Pink insides …

If this prison were a book, it would be …
A tome, an epic, a tragedy,
An open book,
It would be a text book for rules
And how to ignore them.
If this prison were a book,
You wouldn’t waste your time to pick It up,
It would be uninteresting, characteristic, heart-breaking,
With a few heroines and heroes.
If this prison were a book,
It would be called ‘The Gate’.

If this prison were a song, it would be …
A lament, flat, off-key,
A sad song,
With a few good solos,
It would be badly written,
Definitely not a chart-stopper,
As a song it would be

If this prison were a meal, it would be …
Out of date, unpleasant, satisfactory,
Mouldy, and most certainly
Not nutritious.
If this prison were a meal,
It would be tainted, lumpy
Australian Chocolate Crunch,
It would be delectable,
But too processed and packed,
Carbohydrate heavy, not well presented,
The worst packed lunch in the world ….

If this prison were a memory, it would be …
History, unpleasant, haunting,
It would be a good memory,
That wonderful art course,
It would be learning the computer,
A reflection,
If this prison were a memory,
It would be horrid,
Very lonely, dangerous,
With good friendships,
If this prison were a poem.

Two poems inspired by a poem by Lucy Trevitt

From my stony cocoon I cannot taste spring
I cannot hear the bubbling waters
Or drink in the dewy sunrises
But I know that it surrounds
Even the darkest walls
And erupting into verdant green
Caresses the shadowed fortress
So I will wake with it
Song in my every breath
The lamb-skip in my every move
And when I break free, bursting
Into bloom from the gloomy cell
I will spread my unused wings
And let it surge through my veins
Into my hungry fingertips
Coursing like the blood that boils in its absence.

Brick on brick, I am caged.
If spring is outside these walls,
It sings not to me.
If birds flit in revived sunlight
Wings beating through
Air laden with freshness
It reaches not my eyes.
I smell not the flowers breathe
I hear not the flourish of green
Spreading its vivid mangle.
Why can I not break free
From these torpid walls
As the willowy buds do?
Stretch my wings in a milky sunrise?
Leave the cankerous nest of decay
To inhale springs delicate blossoms?

Poem written by a Ruby on her release Summer 2012

I am so glad
To leave HMP EWP
And turn off the light when I want

I am so glad
To leave HMP EWP
And eat what I like
Choose bacon, beans and a warm fresh roll
Smell the coffee filtering through
A giant wallop of ketchup
Catching up

I am so glad
To leave HMP EWP
And listen to the silence
No more clanging of gates
Grating metal on metal, scratching my soul

I am so glad
To leave HMP EWP
And wear colourful clothing
Forgetting the black/white uniform that remind me of scare crows
Scaring me


I am so sad
To leave the Rubies
Those glorious Rubies
Now my friends, my sisters, the chats, the respect, the normality and fun
Sharing, sharing, sharing

I am glad, but I am sad too



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Wednesday, October 16th 2019
In July, RECOOP was contacted by The Society of Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention in Hong Kong (SRACP), a government recognised charitable organisation established in 1957.  SRACP provides a rehabilitation service for offenders and discharged prison...
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