Orion’s Sword

A poem written in ‘open’ conditions (D Category) at Hollesley Bay wherein the inmate marvels at being able to regard the natural world. In really closed conditions (B Category) no heavenly bodies can usually be seen and wildlife is limited to cockroaches, rats and the occasional pigeon beyond the netting. In Cat C prisons, on the rare occasions when given the chance to be outside in the dark, the floodlights basically render all heavenly bodies invisible.

Orion’s Sword
This night appeared Orion’s Sword
Hanging from his starlit belt
Where seagulls flew by light of day
Such inner mirth by this inmate felt!
This bird, that Belgians call ‘mouette’
May have flown across the northern sea
Having thieved the crumbs from some baguette
And now will steal stale bread from me
But, in the darkness, clear and deep
Her place cut out by celestial blade
Her squawk replaced by eerie silence
Of blackened skies, now brighter made

Watching, waiting, as Earth revolved
When pigeons had now flown to rest
This flickering screen showed other suns
Through leaves and trees where birds made nest
They do not wait for man, these stars
That sparkle in a cloudless sky
To them we are like passing cars
That clutch at any reason why
By morning gone, obscured by light
That has travelled through the mists of time
Replaced by birds from rock and branch
Who decorate this land with lime
Thus, I glance through this pane of glass
At movements of all things sky-borne
Just as the free, forlorn or famous
The frail or fit, the low or high-born
Some seek to murder these jail-birds
Or scare them, fearful, from this place
But no human being can utter the words
That could move stars, make them fall from grace
No, they will remain
When we are long gone
When I am free
And our time is done