While Doing Time


A Kyrielle poem

While doing time, I found Free Minds
While doing time, I see I shine
While doing time, I learned to write
While doing time, my poems got tight

While doing time, I think outside
While doing time, I’m still inside
While doing time, I learned a lot
While doing time, we’re fed through slots

While doing time, became a man
While doing time, jail I can’t stand
While doing time, I met people
While doing time, I am see through

While doing time, I’m out of sight
While doing time, I have to fight
While doing time, only I see
While doing time, my mind is free!


  1. Cameron on January 4, 2021 at 11:03 AM


    I love the repetition in this poem, it makes the entire poem flow really nicely. I like how you includes some positives, like finding Free Minds and learning to write, but you aren’t afraid to expose the negatives, like having to fight and being inside. The two opposites parallel each other well.


  2. Joyce on January 5, 2021 at 3:30 PM

    Dear PM,

    This is a cool poem! The repetition and rhyming gives it a nice rhythm. I really love how you begin by referencing Free Minds and end by saying your mind is free, that’s really artistic. This poem is relatively short and simple but you get across so many deep messages and experiences, thank you for sharing and for being vulnerable. You contrast thinking about the outside with still being inside, this is really powerful. Thought you are in jail, you say your mind is free. This is very hopeful. We can tell that you’ve been in tough conditions, being fed through slots, but you are learning and growing as a person. This is a really inspirational message. I’m glad that Free Minds has been so impactful for you. Keep on writing!


  3. sarah on January 6, 2021 at 2:28 PM


    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. The repetition of “while doing time” seems to emphasize the repetitive and monotonous routines you may be going through. However, you contrast these conditions and a physical confinement with the mental, intellectual, and internal freedom you are still able to feel. I especially love the line “while doing time, I think outside.” This really challenged me and made me question how I have possibly been putting boundaries on the way I think and whether I’m taking advantage of the freedom of thought and consciousness. Your experiences have given me a lot to think about, which is amazing since this is written from a completely different perspective than my own. I think everyone needs to be reminded that our minds are free, no matter what anyone else tries to tell us or make us do. Your words definitely “shine” and are “tight,”and I hope to hear more poetry from you soon!


  4. Lamia on January 6, 2021 at 3:45 PM

    First, I hope that you are doing well mentally. I find that a lot of people don’t take the time to ask one another how they are doing mentally and just assume everything is fine. I love the repetition in your poem. I also loved how you used very simple phrases that were still very meaningful.

    A line that I really liked was “While doing time, I think outside.” This line shows that you will not allow your mind to be limited by where you are physically. It also moved me to tell you that incarceration should never define who you are as a person. So many times those that are released from prison are not able to truly get back into society, because the people of the community are so judgmental. I hope that you always keep a positive mindset, and know that your life is still one of purpose and value.

  5. Kenzie on January 7, 2021 at 2:59 PM

    This is such a powerful poem, I absolutely love it. You do an excellent job of portraying emotion and sending a strong message. I also like how you chose to alternate the rhyme scheme with the second and fourth stanzas following an AABB pattern. The repetition of “while doing time” is interesting and really reinforces the key idea that a lot happens while people are incarcerated and shows how much people can grow and change.

  6. Joseph on January 7, 2021 at 4:07 PM

    Hi PM,

    Thank you for sharing this poem! It brought me a sense of all of the different parts of your experience that add up to this poem. I liked reading about the joy of writing and the freedom it brings and the growth you’ve experienced as well as the challenges. Although each line began with the same refrain, the endings of each line reflected a lot of variety and illuminated how writing helps us through tough times. Thank you for writing this inspiring poem — I hope you continue to write & share more.


    • Allison on January 15, 2021 at 5:07 PM

      Hi PG,
      This poem is awesome I love the repetition and it is great that you are sharing your experience with us. I am very glad that you are able to share your emotions through poetry. A phrase that I like in this poem is “ While doing time, I’m out of sight While doing time, I have to fight
      While doing time, only I see While doing time, my mind is free!”. This part of the poem is so touching. I like how you’re expressing yourself and showing how strong you are.

  7. Gabrielle Cascio on January 10, 2021 at 8:36 PM

    Dear PM,

    Thank you for sharing these powerful words. During my first read of the poem, I was immediately struck by your fourth line in the third stanza: “While doing time, I am see through.” Even though we have not met before, this line makes me feel as though you are providing a window into yourself and your experience. Each time I read the poem, I discovered something new to cherish and enjoy. I really enjoyed reading your work and hope to read more in the future!


  8. Johnny on January 18, 2021 at 9:49 AM

    PM, I enjoyed your poem in the Kyrielle style. I hope that you continue to write poetry and continue to build your skill/craft. Have you ever tried to write a Diamante poem? Here is some information I got from shadowpoetry.com on how to do so…

    A Diamante is a seven-lined contrast poem set up in a diamond shape. The first line begins with a noun/subject, and second line contains two adjectives that describe the beginning noun. The third line contains three words ending in -ing relating to the noun/subject. The fourth line contains two words that describe the noun/subject and two that describe the closing synonym/antonym. If using an antonym for the ending, this is where the shift should occur. In the fifth line are three more -ing words describing the ending antonym/synonym, and the sixth are two more adjectives describing the ending antonym/synonym. The last line ends with the first noun’s antonym or synonym.
    To make it a bit simpler, here is a diagram.
    Line 1: Noun or subject
    Line 2: Two Adjectives describing the first noun/subject
    Line 3: Three -ing words describing the first noun/subject
    Line 4: Four words: two about the first noun/subject, two about the antonym/synonym
    Line 5: Three -ing words about the antonym/synonym
    Line 6: Two adjectives describing the antonym/synonym
    Line 7: Antonym/synonym for the subject

    humid, damp
    refreshing, dripping, splattering
    wet, slippery, cold, slushy
    sliding, melting, freezing
    frigid, icy
    Copyright © 2000 Marie Summers

    So basically PM, when you finish it should resemble the shape of a diamond. I hope you give it a try. I wish you the best and I hope that you keep writing. God bless you.


  9. Jordan on January 18, 2021 at 10:09 AM

    Hi PM,

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful poem! I really enjoyed the repetition in your poem, and the way that it places emphasis on your growth and your feelings. My favorite line is “when doing time, I am see through.” I think that can have multiple meanings, but that fact that you were willing to share your thoughts and words in this poem shows vulnerability. That line truly encompasses the meaning of your poem. Keep up the great work and I hope you continue to share your wonderful poems!

  10. Rachel Hamilton on January 18, 2021 at 11:32 AM

    Dear PM,
    Great poem! I really loved how you made your poem rhyme for almost every stanza. When poems rhyme it makes them more interesting to read. I could feel your story through your writing which makes the poem even better and more real. Each stanzas provided an amazing look into your life and it really showed your grow through your experience. Keep writing and keep inspiring others. Best to you!


  11. Riti Kalra on January 18, 2021 at 6:53 PM

    I really like how you made this poem about reflection because it made it all the more powerful and personal. It really represents how you evolved and grew from this experience from beginning to write to becoming a man and the hardships that you faced as well. You write from your heart and I really appreciate that.

  12. Shariah on January 18, 2021 at 8:46 PM


    The rhythm and tone of this poem is awesome. I actually felt your passion through your words. I love how you mentioned, “While doing time, I see I shine.” You realize your worth, and continue to express that you have grown spiritually and mentally. This poem is extremely inspirational. I am looking forward to reading more of your poems. God bless you:)


  13. Samantha on January 19, 2021 at 7:09 PM


    This poem makes me very happy! I am so, so glad that you have found Free Minds, and the art form of poetry! I loved how you were able to relay the positives and negatives of serving time, and I am excited for you as you continue on your poetry journey! Keep your head up, it gets better!



  14. Bridget on January 21, 2021 at 2:27 PM

    Hi PM,

    I really like your poem. The repetition is awesome and drew me right in. The rhyme is awesome and adds another dimension. The whole thing flows so well. I love how you included both positive and negative things in this poem. It paints an insightful look into your life and mindset. I would love to read more of your poems!

  15. Vianca on January 26, 2021 at 3:14 PM

    I enjoyed this poem immensely. I thought that the artistry in this poem flowed so well. Although it is short, it tells a story. What I liked about this poem is that it is powerful. It shows that while the author is doing time, they are doing a lot of thinking. Their bodies may be locked up, but their minds are free to think what they want. I think that this shows what a person really feels like while they are in the system. People may only see them from a judgemental point of view yet these people are capable of so much more. They are able to take their experiences and emotions and put them into a story.
    I think what the author did here was represent what Free Minds Club is. An outlet to express emotions through artistry while they are not able to on the outside. I think that it is important to understand that for these people, this is their only way of expressing themselves and showing who they really are rather than what the system says they are.

  16. Maya S on February 4, 2021 at 3:40 PM


    I really enjoyed this poem! It was cool how you illustrated the contrast of the free mind you’ve developed through Free Minds with your physical experience. I especially like the lines “While doing time, I think outside/While doing time, I’m still inside.” The idea that your mind can be outside while you aren’t is a powerful mindset! Keep up the writing!


  17. Gisela on February 7, 2021 at 1:07 PM

    Hi PM,
    It seems that Free Minds has guided you to unleash the potential you did not know you had. You do shine through your thoughts, through your words, through your poems. You noted that you are out of sight, but we can see you through your words, we feel that you can be strong to fight your battles and you have the potential to win them because your mind is free. Cheers, Gisela

  18. Kahliya Zykia Ruffin on February 10, 2021 at 11:19 AM

    Wow this poem is very power as if I am going threw the days with you. This was great.

    • Jazmyne on March 12, 2023 at 4:41 PM

      Even during dark times you are able to show light through such struggling times. I’m glad you found free minds to be able to write everything down. I hope poetry is an escape for you during your time. What I loved about this poem what you repeating the phrase while doing time. It helps symbolize all the things you’ve been through but also all the accomplishments you are making. Keep writing!

  19. Bhavin C Narotam on February 22, 2021 at 8:33 PM

    I love the use of repetition in the poem. It amplifies the poem tremendously.

  20. Courtney on February 23, 2021 at 12:20 AM

    Thanks for sharing your work! I love the repetition and really felt moved by this piece.

  21. Nick P on February 23, 2021 at 4:42 PM

    PM, this is a good an impressive poem on so many levels. The imagery, the repetition, the rhyme scheme and broken rhyme scheme all work so well together to create this awesome poem. It’s incredible how many different yet powerful images you can create while playing off of the same words. Well done.

  22. Dennis Kang on February 23, 2021 at 9:07 PM

    Hi, I love your poem because it is really creative and I like the rhythm behind it. Your line was powerful when you mentioned ” While think in time, I think outside, while i think in time I am inside”. That line inspired me because I feel that humans have two different sides of nature. Also sometimes it is hard to choose who we want to be. I learned that humans easily mask their personality because they are fragile. Your poem is really descriptive

  23. Emily Bickel on February 24, 2021 at 5:13 PM

    Hi PM-
    Love the poem! I love the rhyme scheme, and I think this needs no corrections. Just an awesome poem!

  24. AK on February 24, 2021 at 11:01 PM

    Hi PM, thank you for sharing your piece. Your writing was extremely powerful and provided a well detailed insight into the shackles of the outside and how to become free. The use of the “Free Minds” was beautiful as your mind was free despite your body stopping you. I liked how you use the same refrain at the beginning of each line but changed the end, it allowed us to step into the story and truly feel what you wanted to express as you put pen to paper. My question for you is, what would you write about or how would you characterize that battle of freeing your mind and allowing yourself to become a Free Mind? Maybe by changing the last line to past tense representing the growth, but I digress. Thank you again for sharing your piece I truly enjoyed it.

  25. Sophie on February 26, 2021 at 9:17 PM

    What a beautiful poem! I loved the repetition, rhymes, and the way you flipped around “Free minds” to “mind is free” at the end. Your words brought up powerful images and emotions about your time incarcerated. I can see a varied experience – you’ve learned, you’ve started to shine, and you’ve grown, and developed great writing skill. But you have also experienced indignities and isolation. I especially loved when you wrote “while doing time, I think outside // while doing time, I’m still inside.” I can feel that you are reckoning with and finding meaning in your circumstances. Thank you for sharing that part of you, I really enjoyed reading your work.

  26. Dorie on March 20, 2021 at 12:29 PM

    I really enjoyed your poem. My favorite part was the repetition of “while doing time.” The repetition both created a really nice flow in your poem, but also continuously reminds the reader of the prominence of “doing time” in your life, which makes the poem that much more impactful. Wonderful work!

  27. Joe Fargo on March 25, 2021 at 11:12 PM

    Dear PM,

    Thank you for sharing this poem. I thoroughly enjoyed your repetition and rhyme scheme as I read this poem. It made things light and kept me engaged to the end. I hope you continue writing, and I hope you are doing well.

    – Joe

  28. Emily on March 27, 2021 at 7:03 PM

    I really like the flow of your poem, it made it very engaging. I also like the way you weaved in positive and negative elements, it’s very honest! Keep writing!

  29. Ayzhiana Basallo on March 27, 2021 at 8:29 PM

    I like how you used a repeated line in your poem, I often do that as well when I write poems. It seems like you have a lot serving time and even though it may not be what you want to do, you write the poem in more of a positive light than a negative one. I really enjoyed reading your poem and I like they way you expressed yourself.

  30. Zach Phelps on March 30, 2021 at 1:17 PM

    I loved how your poem flowed! The repetition of the title made a strong impact and allowed the poem to be smoothly read. I really enjoyed how you balanced the poem with positive aspects and negative aspects, creating a back and forth expression of your mixed feelings. I loved your descriptive words and the rhyming which help pull the readers in. I thought it was great! Thanks for sharing!

  31. Ashlen on March 30, 2021 at 6:52 PM

    Hi PM! I love how passionate your poem is, and I am so glad you’ve gotten to grow and learn to write with Free Minds. One of my favorite quotes is “Life happens wherever you are, whether you make it or not,” and I think that is something you are learning and expressing with your poem. I hope you continue to free your mind and keep writing, you’ve done a great job! – Ashlen

  32. Brittani Forman on April 7, 2021 at 3:20 PM

    Dear PM
    I really enjoyed this poem. I appreciate the repetition and the depth of it all .

  33. Anna on April 16, 2021 at 2:22 PM

    Hey PM, I love this poem you wrote! The use of repetition caught my eye, and I love what you did with it. I am so glad you found Free Minds and now have somewhere to clear your mind. I also like how you pointed out the positives, as well as the negatives while serving time. Thank you for sharing this!

  34. Anna on April 16, 2021 at 3:01 PM

    I loved this poem. It is great a showing the different aspects of being incarcerated, positive and negative. I am glad that you found writing poetry and how it has helped you through this time. I hope you continue writing!

  35. Edmon on April 18, 2021 at 11:51 PM

    Hi Im a student at Wayne State University and am in a class that aims to engage with the community beyond the university and corporations. I really enjoyed your poem and liked the repetition. It made me really wonder what the situation the poem is discussing, was it about jail or just being away from people? Really well written poem and I can relate when im away from the world doing other things to myself. Good job and good luck in the future and future endeavors.

  36. Anne Kilburg on May 1, 2021 at 7:29 PM

    Hi PM! I really enjoyed the power of the repetition and rhythm of your poem, it really speaks volumes! It really conveys how much can take place while someone is incarcerated. I think Free Minds is an amazing organization and I am so glad you have learned and gained so much from the experience of working with them. Your writing is amazing and I’m glad you have found this outlet to use while in prison. Your writing is amazing already and I am sure you will keep writing, as you should, and create more meaningful work, thank you for sharing your words!

  37. cm on May 2, 2021 at 5:06 PM

    Hello PM – I am a part of a college English class called Writing and Community, where we focus on service learning and interacting with our community outside of the university. I really enjoyed reading your poem, and I thought your use of repetition was a nice element. I think you do a really nice job of balancing the negative aspects of your life with the positives, and the lines such as “While doing time, we’re fed through slots” and “While doing time, I learned to write” contrast each other nicely by showing two very different aspects of your time. I hope that your growth as a writer and your time publishing your poems with Free Minds has encouraged you to continue writing and using poetry as a way to express your emotions. I think it can be a very healthy and productive outlet for any type of thoughts or feelings. I wish you success and happiness in the future!

  38. Aracelli on May 3, 2021 at 9:07 PM

    Hi PM,

    I love how you show so many aspects of doing time, both bad and good. I think it’s powerful to recognize the full picture of one’s circumstances, and you do that really well here. I especially like how you reference free minds both at the beginning and end of the poem, saying that you both found Free Minds and that your mind is now free. Great work!

  39. Billie Marcheva on May 6, 2021 at 11:20 PM

    Hey PM,

    I’m really glad you found a way to be your authentic self and engage your mind while in jail. Your poetry is powerful and it’s clear how much you’ve grown as a poet and as a person. I hope you continue following your creativity and sharing your poetry with the world. Thank you for sharing this. Your voice matters.

  40. Hannah on August 19, 2021 at 10:43 AM

    I love this poem. There clear expression of hope and strength. Through this poem, I see that, despite all the hardship you face, you still have stayed positive, something I believe demonstrates a great amount of mental endurance and strength. Thank you for sharing this impactful poem.

  41. Anonymous on November 17, 2021 at 1:23 PM

    I like how you matched the number of syllables on every line while also rhyming – very tough to do!

  42. Kora on May 31, 2022 at 2:25 AM

    I love this poem and the repetition particularly helps you emphasize your points in every line. Throughout the poem you were able to tie together several central themes such as imagination, freedom, prison, and your personal feelings/emotions. It was done effortlessly and I believe you have a great future in writing poetry. Your mind will always be free if you continue to write and express yourself freely. Please continue writing because you are so good at it!

  43. Justin Lambert on July 13, 2022 at 1:06 PM

    I thought this poem did a good job of staying positive in spite of your current circumstances. Not everybody is able to take a situation like this and make light of it and that is something you should be proud of. Being able to look at the brighter side of things displays an admirable level of resilience and you have my utmost respect for that.

  44. EH on October 9, 2022 at 1:35 PM

    This is a very powerful poem. The repetition is very satisfying and ties the whole piece together in a way that flows really nice. Also, the way that you mention Free Minds in the first line, and then end with the statement of your mind being free is a cool way of drawing connection between the ideas of freedom you expressed with the Free Minds project directly. It helps to stress the importance of something like the Free Mind project, which allows you essentially an escape from your prison to express yourself in front of the world. I can feel through your writing how important and liberating this must feel to you, that despite the consistent & inherent hardships of imprisonment, your mind can never be restrained.

  45. Meghan on November 19, 2022 at 6:36 PM

    I really like the format of this poem and how you repeated “while doing time” in every line. After reading this poem I understand more about how much time there really is when in jail. It is really good for your mind that you are writing poems, learning, and thinking on your free time. Keep up the great work, and you will see results!

  46. JG on October 6, 2023 at 4:15 PM

    I love the way the poem flows. I feel like I can picture myself in jail, needing to fight, being outside but also being inside. I can understand how it could feel to be outside but also be stuck inside for who knows how long. It’s a very strong poem that brings you into their own shoes which is what a pome should do.

  47. Josie on November 5, 2023 at 12:17 AM

    This is a great pome your repeating words throughout the poem is amazing and you stay true to everything you say in the poem which makes it feel more realistic throughout and the more you read. I’m happy that you were able to find something that makes your mind free, keep up the great work

  48. chelsea on November 12, 2023 at 11:30 PM

    PM, I think that the repetition really brings the whole poem together. It is formatted perfectly. When you have a lot of time on your hands your mind can certainly be free.

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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.