Freedom in the Penitentiary

freedom in the penitentiary

robin sitting still
between barbs of sharpened steel
her spirit will soar

~dedicated to Janet

As always, it was an incredibly moving time working with the women at WCCW (Washington Correctional Center for Women.)  This time, we could not take in food, so we "had" to eat the prison food (if you wanted to eat).  This in itself was interesting.  Some of it was good, some of it was not so good.

One of the main thrusts of the Kairos program is to help the women work towards forgiveness of self and others AND to provide them with a safe community that they can process in.  That happened this weekend in a powerful and wonderful way.  I am still processing all that I have seen and heard.

This morning, our fearless leader saw a bird sitting on the razor wire that surrounds the institution.  I am continuously struck by the strange beauty of the razor wire when the sun's light is glistening 'just so.'  I wish I could capture it in a photo or in verse, but I just haven't gotten it quite yet.  However,  after being told about the bird and hearing another person's story later in the day, I came up with the Haiku above.  Freedom can be found in the penitentiary.


  1. Lisa said on March 21, 2011
    Wish I could have shared this experience with you. I can sense how it might have felt even without hearing the stories. The haiku is good, but your comment about the razor wire and your "freedom in the penitentiary" meant a great deal to me. Thanks, Cloaked Monk. Blessings on your week.
    1. Terri said on March 21, 2011
      Love and hugs, dear one.
  2. trisha said on March 21, 2011
    its a beautiful thing you are doing jane. a very noble thing- all the best!
    1. Terri said on March 21, 2011
      Thank you so much.
  3. honeyhaiku said on March 21, 2011
    It is so heartening to know that there are souls such as yourself in this world!
  4. Jingle Poetry said on March 21, 2011
    have fun today. Greetings: Week 27 Poetry Potluck is open, welcome/Thanks (4) joining us…share your poetry with us today… Friendship Awards, Enjoy! Happy Monday, Bless you! xxx
  5. goldenhairbear10 said on March 21, 2011
    You are a very valued person in the world. Thank you for your contribution. The world is better because of what you have done. The world is what it is today because people like you.
    1. Terri said on March 21, 2011
      I never quite know what to say to these compliments! I just do what I do. The reward is seeing the women move into a life with interior freedom.
  6. David (1MereMortal) said on March 24, 2011
    This is wonderful.
    1. Terri said on March 24, 2011
      Thank you so much!
  7. bendedspoon said on March 24, 2011
    beautiful -- the poem and your heart :)
  8. Jingle said on March 24, 2011
    superb Haiku.. thanks for the contribution to poets rally. :)
  9. Words Asunder said on March 24, 2011
    Great haiku..made much clearer by your background notes..nice one :)
  10. Helena said on March 24, 2011
    It certainly is a terrific haiku and it's a fabulous job you're doing. The Kairos programme sounds extremely promising. My younger son's band perform now and again in a woman's jail here in Scotland (a band member's father works there!) and it is an experience they totally enjoy but it's mingling with the women and hearing their stories that stick more in their mind.
    1. Terri said on March 24, 2011
      Yes, the stories are heart breaking.
  11. Becca Givens said on March 26, 2011
    Hope can be found in any circumstance - if we allow ourselves to find it! Beautiful ~ becca
  12. Jingle said on March 26, 2011
    how is your day? please find time visiting poets who were here for you but you did not visit yet.. Thanks.. have fun. :)
    1. Terri said on March 26, 2011
      Will do! I visited a random selection from the main page but haven't done a lot of return visits yet.
  13. fiveloaf said on March 26, 2011
    love your haiku.. here's mine cloaked..
  14. haggishead said on March 27, 2011
    one of my favourite poems I read this week. it is somehow simple, but very powerful and thoughtful!
  15. Julie Laing said on March 27, 2011
    It's an inspiring haiku--and thanks for sharing the back story; your title gave some hint at it, but having it filled in just enhanced the power of the piece for me. Good luck with the fuller poem you are working on--I'm sure you'll capture that glint when the time is right!
  16. Vinay said on March 27, 2011
    CM, I think after February, your haikus have grown deeper, and more meaningful.. admire this one a lot. thank u for sharing with us at the rally. :) Here's My Poem For Poets Rally
  17. LoLa said on March 29, 2011
    I hope her spirit does soar.
  18. danroberson said on March 30, 2011
    When my own spirit feels confined, there are moments of pleasure and freedom watching the birds soar free. Visiting those in prison shares your soaring spirit with them. Blessings and peace to you.
  19. dragonkatet said on March 30, 2011
    Hi. I just wanted you to know that I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. There’s no pressure to accept, but I think your poetry and blog are pretty special, and thought you deserved an award for all your effort! If you’ve already received this award, then pay no heed to this kudos. ;) Thanks and congratulations!
    1. Terri said on March 30, 2011
      Thanks so much! I appreciate the positive feedback. I have been nominated once before so I will rejoice and offer thanks.
  20. Jamie Dedes said on March 30, 2011
    Finding freedom and the sacred everywhere is the work of being human. Your client found freedom. Apparently you found the sacred in a little bird and a frail human. Well done, both poem and insight.

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