Inner Strength


As a product of his environment,
He could not read nor write,
Designed and programmed for destruction,
Thoughts of suicide haunted him at night.

As a product of his environment.
Incarcerated overnight
Afraid to give up, he decided to fight

Six years later a GED, Paralegal diploma and
An Associate’s Degree in Business Management
He found life.

As a product of his environment
He took flight.


  1. Ryan on April 17, 2017 at 10:10 AM

    I love the use of repetition to make a nuanced and strong point.

  2. Eric Coffin-Gould on May 2, 2017 at 12:58 AM

    The last lines are beautiful – simple, but excellently done and powerful.

  3. Andrea Ruggirello on May 13, 2017 at 1:53 PM

    So many years are summarized succinctly in the penultimate stanza. Then the repetition in the last stanza really hits home. I really like the pivot of that last line.

  4. Allyson Booth on June 16, 2017 at 12:51 AM

    I love how this poem starts with that bureaucratic idea of the “product of his environment” but then takes it in another, unexpected direction! Inspirational!

  5. John on March 22, 2020 at 11:55 PM

    I pray that God continue to work it out for you.

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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.