What I Don’t Say


When I say freedom
You hear closing cell doors
When you say freedom
I hear soft cries

What I can’t say is peace of mind
What I mean is sanity

When you say peace
Do you mean paradise?

What I wish I’d told you is be patient
What I want you to know is hope exist


  1. Elizabeth on February 15, 2019 at 11:57 AM

    Beautiful. The words so carefully chosen convey a sense of how each of us own words and ideas differently. I love the final optimism of hope and the juxtaposition of wish and want at the end, going from one level to the next. It seems so confident, sure, and self-reflective yet poignant with the implication of regret, too. Thank you..

  2. Kayelynn on April 15, 2020 at 5:44 PM


    Your thoughtful word choices crafted a beautiful poem. Your poem shows that words have different meanings for all of us because we’ve all been through different situations in life. But, the strong way you ended your poem gives the readers words to take away as a lesson, be patient and keep the faith. I’d love to see more of your writing!

  3. Reid Baron on August 5, 2020 at 10:36 AM

    Beautiful, restrained, full of unstated meaning–like a haiku. Keep up the good work and be well.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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.