Penitentiary

I took a brief stroll around the courtyard today
And saw an old man all alone, but not afraid
I asked him how he spent so many years sitting there
Staring at the world through iron bars and thinning hair

“Barbed wire between my fingers, ink tears on my face
I know my worn heart has already won the race
This meager living has yet in every sad situation
Taught me how God doesn’t give up on His children.

Every stone here sweats with our lone suffering
It’s ‘specially hard to keep one’s mind off of peddling
Here is rock bottom to the pessimist point of view –
But opportunity knocks seeking those who know the Truth.

It’s hard not to see life like those down on their luck
Succumbing to inner demons by themselves, in despair, but
As lilies that grow among thorns are the whitest;
Standing side-by-side are those who will shine the brightest.

Small little lessons like these always counteract
Resentments in my heart about never going back –
Abandoning the life I once knew, life outside of here
Still each day brews with the fragile hope of starting freer.”

The same words echo every night, endless in my mind
Spoken by the old man sharped by the irons of time:
“Faith is borne of trials in the soul and of the mind
The sharper that they are, alas, the brighter then you’ll shine.”

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