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Saturday, November 15, 2014

"a mother of stone"

The featured poet, Tomas Tranströmer, worked in a juvenile prison in the late 1950's.  He wrote a few haiku during that period.  A couple of these are to be used as inspiration.

Night—a twelve-wheeler
goes by making the dreams of
the inmates shiver

The boy drinks his milk
and sleeps cozy in his cell,
a mother of stone

© Tomas Tranströmer

Our host's beautiful response: 

ten p.m. - lights go out
the inmates dream their dreams -
a heart on the beach

© Chèvrefeuille

In the late 1970's and early 1980's the international women's faith group to which I belonged held a yearly mission study.  During the night called 'Open University' a group of convicts from the Missouri Women's Prison were a part of our education.  A session of hearing stories and backgrounds struck a chord with me.  One of the inmates, a young woman barely 5 feet tall shared she had murdered a man.  She had issues with men in general as a result of years of sexual abuse at the hands of her father.  Ute was open about her sexual orientation.  In prison she had found a love denied her in 'freedom'.

I began correspondence with Ute.  As personal items are not provided in the prison, packages containing soap, hygiene products, stamps and stationary were being shipped to the prison.  A couple of other young women in my local organization joined me in purchasing items for Ute.  I purchased underclothing from a local store owner and shared to whom I was sending the obviously not my size bras.  The store owner, also a member of the same organization, said the inmate was using me.  I told her it was not my responsibility to account for Ute's response, only to live as I felt compelled to do.  The store owner shrugged and rang up the sell.

Eventually I stopped the correspondence with Ute due to time issues.  The image of that young woman will still float through my mind and I wonder where she is.  As for the store owner, she came to my mother in law's funeral last November.  She did not mention Ute.  I still think, "but by the grace of God...."


cold concrete walls -
love finds escape in a touch
from cherished hands

a gentle caress
love flows from the fingertips 
penal institute 

rage finds peace
in the icy iron barred cell
loves healing touch
©  Janice Adcock

Thanks to Chèvrefeuille for daily prompts on 


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