Within a Prison Cell

August 31, 2021 

Poem: Within a Prison Cell

As a Law enforcement officer there’s Human beings I meet
Who’ve spent more time in prison cells and grown up on the street
Rough and mean with “Gangsta” talk they look me in the eye
Beneath the tough exterior I see a broken guy

Trying to peel the layers is an overwhelming task
Met with stony silence no matter what I ask
I try to make some small talk which doesn’t always work
Greeted with a grunt and leer; at times a haughty smirk

Racing against time I know I have to find a way
To break the ice, build rapport, am sure this sounds cliché
In the darkness of the prison cell I try to find the light
Step into my prisoners shoes and hope to gain insight

Sometimes I end up lucky and I manage to connect
With a fractured human being – no stranger to neglect
Ravaging for morsels since he was a little child
He studies me with scepticism and a look that’s wild

Slept on splintered benches; abandoned since day 1
Laying low with homeless folks is how life had begun
Befriending Alcohol and Meth since he was 8 or 9
Have lack of love and caring created Frankenstein?

We see-saw through our journey and at times I go off script
I find I’m making inroads and see a mask that’s slipped
I do not see a prisoner but a man who wants to win
Pick up the threads, stand upright and not let down his kin

I take him on a journey far beyond the prison cell
And I tell him of my story - he’s entranced and in a spell
He looks beyond my stab proof vest and my pepper spray
And sees a kindred spirit who is trying to find her way

He sees the challenges I’ve faced and times I’ve won and lost
The struggles that it took and the roads that I have crossed
That a winner doesn’t quit and a quitter doesn’t win
Is a thought that’s slowly seeping deep within his skin

I see a sparkle in his eyes – a look that’s filled with hope
Enlightened and empowered he feels that he can cope
To help a man see right from wrong is quite an uphill task
Trying to elicit change is not an easy ask

So I roll with his resistance, ambivalence and fear
Remind him he can make it but he has to persevere
We move forward and backward while we set some goals
We talk of plans to follow and possible loopholes

A daunting task but Patience and Compassion are the key
And I use each conversation to connect with empathy
Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose but plod ahead I must
My strategy in Tug of war is based on hope and trust


Anita Britto Archives:





By Anita Britto, Auckland
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Comment on this article

  • Anita Britto, Mangalore/ Auckland

    Mon, Sep 20 2021

    Humbled to read your appreciative comments. Thank you so much.

  • Nita Pinto, Mangalore/Auckland

    Fri, Sep 03 2021

    Good one Anita! You are doing a stupendous job and may God bless your efforts always! Keep it up! Cheers Nita

  • John, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 01 2021

    Nice! But liberal / communist chinese home prisons or lockdowns are lurking everywhere including now in Australia and New Zeeland for their evil virus ? But Mother Mary says Prayer will solve all problems in the following recent message to William Costellia dated 15th August 2021. ... Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption into Heaven .... ... “New South Wales of Australia has gone into total lockdown because of the Pandemic, but it is a wrongful move, because it will cause great strife to the people of New South Wales. The authorities are looking at the matter in great fear, but the ones in control are very happy, because this will cause great anxieties for My children. Pray for those in charge, because they will have much to answer for. My children, this Pandemic is not as serious as you make it out to be. Prayer will solve all problems” Ref: https://littlepebble.org/2021/08/16/message-833-15-august-2021/#more-8354

  • Hazel Patrao, Mangalore / Dubai /New Zealand

    Wed, Sep 01 2021

    Touched by this beautiful Poem dear Anita. Admire your courage and yet a heart to see the beauty within each person. May God bless you abundantly. May He bless this talent which you are using for His glory. God bless.

  • Hazel Patrao, Mangalore / Dubai /New Zealand

    Wed, Sep 01 2021

    Touched by this beautiful Poem dear Anita. Admire your courage and yet a heart to see the beauty within each person. May God bless you abundantly. May He bless this talent which you are using for His glory. God bless.

  • Sarita McKenzie, Takapuna

    Wed, Sep 01 2021

    Brilliant Anita. You are gifted. Love it

  • Premila, New Zealand

    Wed, Sep 01 2021

    What a commendable job you are doing for our society, Anita. New Zealand is a better place because of people like you that have faith in humanity. Your pen is as mighty as your deeds. Keep up the great mahi

  • Vivet Concessao, NZ

    Wed, Sep 01 2021

    Lovely poem Anita, beautifully put.

  • Vinod Gawde, Mumbai

    Tue, Aug 31 2021

    Wow.. wonderfully scripted Anita. Never knew you had so much poetic skills. Keep up the good work. Could feel the emotions and pain which are conveyed. All the best for future.

  • Ben D'Souza Prabhu, Mangalore, Bombay Bandra now in Canada

    Tue, Aug 31 2021

    Thank you very much indeed you dear sister Anita. I really appreciate your Masterpiece presentation. Well done, Please do carry on further. GOD"S SPECIAL BLESSINGS ON YOU ALWAYS !!!

  • Kieth Lawrence, CHIKMAGALUR

    Tue, Aug 31 2021

    Super . Keep it up I think I know this author. Let me recollect and get back.

  • John Monteiro, Bondel, Mangaluru

    Tue, Aug 31 2021

    Highly loaded rhyming which I enjoyed with great concentration.

  • Joe Britto, Nakre/Bang

    Tue, Aug 31 2021

    Congratulations Anita... Another masterpiece

  • Nitin, Mumbai

    Tue, Aug 31 2021

    Hey Anita ... wow the poem is absolutely awesome a..you walked me along to the prison and know the souls fighting within themselves from your perspective. Keep up tge good work . I know you since childhood a tough person with a soft soul that what exactly reflects in this beautiful poem. Lucky to know you. Stay blessed. Nitin Dalvi

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