First Poem


Is this how my life is supposed to end?
Alone and locked up in the pen, down on my luck and up against the wind
It seems like my confidence is slipping and setting in is depression and misery
I can’t blame nobody for this problem but me
My youngest daughter doesn’t even know me
And the others are grown and don’t need daddy no more
Thinking about that reality keeps me up at night and it hurts me to my core
I pray to God to help me to stay strong and survive
Help me to turn my life around for it is greatness that I strive
I know I wasn’t the best father in the world
But can’t nobody say that the most important thing to me wasn’t my girls
Even if it’s our bond you want to sever
Just know that you are tatted on me and will be in my heart forever
So as I sit in this cold, concrete box with a heart full of pain
I will not stop fighting until I’m one day free and with my girls again
So God please forgive me for my sins
For home with my girl is where I belong
Help me to right my wrongs and allow me to finally move on


  1. Andrew F on February 2, 2022 at 9:06 PM

    LB – I don’t usually comment on titles but the title of this really frames the whole poem. Your first poem, your first attempt. I can feel that you’re trying to figure out a new skill – how to translate your life and the depth of your emotions into a poem. As the reader, I’m drawn in and invested in to figuring that out alongside you. You are learning and I am learning. Thank you.

  2. Heather B on February 2, 2022 at 9:08 PM

    Dear LB,

    Thanks for sharing this raw, powerful poem with me. As I read, I could sense your tension, your hurt, your anger – so many feelings arise here. I almost feel like there are multiple poems inside this one: a poem to God. A poem to your daughters. A poem the helps us to understand what it feels like when your “confidence is slipping.” A poem about your tattoo. I hope you keep writing and I have the chance to read your work one day.


  3. Anna Kathryn Speck on February 3, 2022 at 11:20 AM

    This poem not only shows me how much you care for your daughters but what emotional baggage you are carrying with you everyday. I think writing lets you control your emotions and lets everything just flow on paper without having to think. I pray that you will soon see your girls, but for now, I pray that you find happiness and find yourself to be peaceful and calm. I can not image what pain you are going through, I can only pray and hope and wish you the best.

  4. Maddie on February 4, 2022 at 3:25 PM

    That was truly beautiful. I could feel your pain through your words. Great writing! You really tapped into your emotions to create this.

  5. Jose on February 14, 2022 at 12:31 AM

    Thank you LB for sharing your art. The love you hold is present in your art and spreads with each word. The devotion you have for your loved ones and for yourself is all-powerful. Your presence is always needed and felt. This problem is not your own doing, we do the best we can each day. There is greatness within you. I hope you are able to reunited with your loved ones and have times of peace.

  6. Thomas on February 21, 2022 at 10:29 PM

    I hope this first poem won’t be your last. I feel the pain as you write these words. I wonder where your girls are in life and I hope they think of you. I know they do. I had a father who was incarcerated before I knew who he was. But it is in our DNA. I felt his essence everywhere. Your words will reach them even through the concrete.

  7. Jaelin Esmay Fraser on February 25, 2022 at 8:20 AM

    Thank you for sharing your work! I hope your daughters know how much they mean to you! This poem flowed beautifully i really enjoyed reading your words.

  8. AK on February 27, 2022 at 6:33 PM

    It may be hard at the moment but keep on holding on to the day you are reunited with your family. You are much stronger than you think!

  9. Bradley on February 27, 2022 at 6:36 PM

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I appreciate your honesty and emotions you show in your poem. It is clear how much you love your daughters. Stay strong my friend.
    – Bradley

  10. - on February 27, 2022 at 6:37 PM

    This poem is truly beautiful. In this world we are judged on our worst mistake, yet there is so much more to a person that that. Your poem strikes each of the notes of harmony as you delve deeper into the story and how it connects to your outlooks on life. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Lauren Vinson on March 21, 2022 at 11:35 AM

    Through reading your poem I feel your pain and can feel that you know you did wrong. Just like you wrote you can’t blame anyone for this problem but you. That state is true, but I want you to know that it is never too late to change and I’ve seen changes myself that I never thought would happen. You have to be willing to work your hardest and through reading your poem it seems like you are ready to try.

    In the bible, 1 John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God will forgive you. Continue to work on yourself and find a purpose in life to help stay straight. Life is not easy for anyone and we all get through curveballs. We just have to figure out how to take them. Stay strong and know you are not alone.

  12. Holly Jo on March 25, 2022 at 11:46 AM

    Feeling so much passion when I read this and sense so much strength. A new day will come. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Talia Abrahamson on April 3, 2022 at 12:44 PM

    Hi LB––thanks for sharing such a powerful poem! Your use of slant rhymes, opposites, and bittersweet hopefulness combine together to create a moving and thought-provoking work. There are so many great ideas here to be expanded into more than just your “First Poem!”

  14. KC on April 7, 2022 at 4:01 PM


    I can feel the sincerity in your words! This poem is extremely moving. You sound like a wonderful father, despite any mistakes you may have made. We all make mistakes. Those that we love and those that love us drive us to be better people everyday. Keep your chin up.

  15. Simone Redensky on April 18, 2022 at 1:41 PM

    The themes of this poem were hard to read but important to know. The relationship between a father and his children is so strong, and you conveyed that very well. The line “Just know that you are tatted on me and will be in my heart forever” was perfect. It shows how although you cannot be with your daughters, they are forever in your heart. It shows how distance does not make family, love does. No matter how far you are from your family, you will always carry them with you. I also thought it was interesting the way you talked to God in the poem. Not only was this meaningful to the reader, but it shows how much you truly want to return home. The reader is able to see that you care and you are turning to God because you would do anything to see your daughters again. This was amazing to read, truly great work!

  16. Jacey on April 19, 2022 at 8:20 PM

    Hi LB,

    Thank you for sharing, I know that these words were not easy to write. As a daughter myself, it is hard to navigate the father/daughter relationship. I am sure your girls want you back as much as you want to be with them. It will take work, but I encourage you to keep your head up and continue to push towards your goal. You are in my prayers and remember you are loved. I hope this comment finds you well and I hope God gives you the help and clarity you ask for.

    Best Wishes,

  17. Belle on April 19, 2022 at 9:50 PM

    Hi LB,
    I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading your poem. You did a great job of telling your story through poetic words that were thought-provoking. I can see how important being a father is to you. I consider myself blessed to have a great father, but I also know and understand that he is not perfect. I believe we all make mistakes, but we can try our best to recover from them and I think your poem captures that beautifully. Thank you for sharing your story and your gift of poetry.

  18. L on April 19, 2022 at 11:05 PM

    Great job. The lines had a very nice rhythmic flow to them, it’s almost songlike. The text is also just a beautiful display of love and emotions.

  19. Emily L. on April 20, 2022 at 7:43 PM

    I thought this poem was very deep and personal (in a good way). It is clear that this poem required a lot of self-reflection which gives so much more value and insight to your story. Your writing invites the reader a chance to see your thought processes during this time of self-reflection as well as how incarceration has impacted your life. I really liked your verses “I pray to God to help me stay strong and survive, help me to turn around my life for it is greatness that I strive.” This paints a picture of where you have been and where you want to go. Great job!

  20. Taylor M. on April 20, 2022 at 10:30 PM

    LB, thank you so much for sharing your poem. Your words were beautiful and made me cry. I can’t imagine how you must be feeling, but to see that you’re able to express these thoughts so beautifully is truly touching. It’s amazing to know that poetry has given you this outlet, and I hope that one day you can use this as a way to mend things with your family. I can tell how proud of a father you are, and hope that you never give up on yourself or your family. I deal with depression myself, and know how hard it is to get yourself out of the cycle of negative thought patterns. Having ways to cope, though, it so important, and poetry is such an amazing way to do that (especially when you’re good at it!). I hope that with time you can be more gentle with yourself and eventually reunite with your daughters. In the meantime, don’t stop writing! You’re so talented and I really hope to see your work in the future, LB. Thank you again for sharing!

  21. Ryanne Smith on April 24, 2022 at 11:51 AM

    I want to say that this poem speaks volumes to your situation. Everyone in this world has done wrong at some point and others are greater wrongs but that does not set us apart from each other. I want to let you know that no matter how old your kids are that there is a spot in their heart for you as their father. I hope you continue to write to express your feelings as it is a great outlet to let the emotions typically held in to be released.

  22. Camryn on April 24, 2022 at 3:21 PM

    LB, I sympathize with your struggles. Stay strong for those that you love, succeeding in this fight will show them how strong your love for them truly is. Never forget your faith in these times. I also have a hard time believing this is your first poem, your thoughts are expressed beautifully. Continue to write and remain resilient for your daughters.

  23. Madison on April 24, 2022 at 10:06 PM

    Thank you for being so truthful and raw in this poem. I could really get a sense of your pain and emotions while you wrote this and that gave this piece so much more meaning. I can tell how much your daughters mean to you. I hope writing this gave you a little peace. Remember that actions are important, but people always know deep down when someone truly cares for them. Keep being a loving father and keep writing from the heart and your poems will continue to be impactful.

  24. Brittani on April 28, 2022 at 2:32 PM

    Dear LB,
    Nice flow and beautiful structure. I truly enjoyed reading this and related to it very much. Please keep working at it. It is very strong and powerful. I love the work. I truly hope you keep going.

  25. Chynel on April 29, 2022 at 12:37 PM

    This poem is very powerful–thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. My heart goes out to you, and I sincerely hope you are reunited with your children soon.

  26. locke on May 9, 2022 at 7:32 AM

    you’re a wonderful poet that writes with emotion. I love that in a poem. i hope out get out soon. it’ll be a lifechanging event to see & meet your children. I wish you the best of luck.

  27. Parker on May 10, 2022 at 8:29 PM

    Stay strong, LB. I feel so moved by your words. I’m not a father myself, but I still felt something in my heart from this poem. Everybody has made mistakes. Forgive yourself and keep working toward greatness and others will forgive you too. That’s what your poem says to me. Great work. I hope you keep writing poetry.

  28. Kayla on September 22, 2022 at 11:18 PM

    This was beautiful. This touched my heart a lot because I was extremely close to my dad before he passed away, so I understand the father – daughter connection you are talking about. In the line where you said “and others are grown and don’t need daddy no more” let me just say your daughters will always need you trust me. You’ll always be their father and you’ll overcome your demons and get to be with them again. I can feel your emotion when you said “Just know that you are tatted on me and will be in my heart forever” – ugh that touched me I can feel your love for your daughters through this. It’s true you can blame anyone except for you for this situation, but that doesn’t mean you cant turn certain situations around. Set a goal and spend everyday working towards it and eventually you’ll reach it. Trust me, you may not think this, but your daughters have so much love for you and obviously you have so much love for them. You’ll always be their dad and they’ll never stop needing you so keep writing and keep going towards you goal. I wish you the best of luck and I hope you reconnect with your family soon.

  29. Oshane on September 25, 2022 at 4:41 PM

    Writing is a good form of expression. It must have been quite challenging to try to put your thoughts together to compose this. Keep writing and expressing how you feel and use it as a form of therapy to help get you through the rough times. Do not focus on formulating the words exquisitely but just getting it all out there about how you feel. We all fall short at times in our walk of life it takes strength and courage to rise from the ashes. I have faith in you that you will make it through your adversity. Use the memories and hope of uniting with your girls one day to keep you strong and centered.

  30. Meghan on October 21, 2022 at 8:40 PM

    This poem is very beautiful and it touches my heart. I think it is very good how you are praying to god in a situation as serious as this. Just remember that it is never too late to make a difference in your children’s lives. Once you do get that chance to be with your children, take in the most you can yet. Think of your children before making any choices in your life, they are the only people who will help you get on the right path. Keep up the great work!

  31. Oshane on February 14, 2023 at 7:38 PM

    Hi LB,

    Very evocative poem. I appreciate you sharing your story with us.

    It must be difficult to be unable to connect with your family while incarcerated. It can create a sense of helplessness and isolation.

    I appreciate your use of imagery when you describe the cold, concrete box and metaphors, such as “up against the wind,” which emphasize the challenges you face.

    I urge you not to lose hope, as you will eventually overcome this and reconnect with your family. Continue to utilize writing as a means of expression.

  32. Jocelyn Patterson on March 6, 2023 at 11:49 AM

    Thank you for sharing, I am so sorry that you can’t see your daughters right now I am sure that’s so hard. I used to not have a great relationship with my dad but now I can’t imagine what I would do without him. Just know that no matter what has happened they will always love you and will always be your daughters.

  33. leah on October 10, 2023 at 10:09 AM

    this is an extremely powerful poem,im sorry you aren’t able to see your daughters right now, as im sure thats hard. My dad went to jail when I was a little girl and I at the time didn’t understand any of it. As time went and I got older I was able to understand. You always need your dad, age doesnt matter. they will always love you and you will always be their dad. I pray that you dont lose hope a you keep pushing through. Never too late to turn your life around and get that relationship with your daughters that you want.

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The poets featured here are currently incarcerated, and many of them are in federal prisons far from home. Your feedback is a valuable source of motivation and connection to the outside community. Post your comments, feedback, and encouragement in the space below the poem. Messages will be passed on directly to the author. Comments may not appear immediately on the site, as our team processes them to mail to the poets.