I brought them roses, poem from prison

urlMoved by Stephen Price’s poem that I posted yesterday I looked back at some of my prison poetry-teaching experiences and remembered this day so very clearly working in a women’s prison. The difficulties of bringing in anything physical as a poetry prompt through the inspection system was often daunting. This was a day I succeeded. My gift, yet I received more …


I brought them roses

I brought them roses.
One woman remembered
a prom,
and another the sight
of a dozen roses
when she woke up from surgery.
One remembered a wedding
and another
her grandmother’s garden,
and the last one, for some reason,
the day the police took her away
from her children.

I brought them roses.
The women held them tightly
in their fingers,
pricked their lips on thorns
brushed softness
against their noses.
The prison guard inventoried
roses when I left,
sure I had not
left anything behind.
They tucked dark red petals
into their sleeves,
their pockets, their poems.

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12 Responses to I brought them roses, poem from prison

  1. Stephen Price says:

    Marin, your poem is cracking open memories and I am flooded with emotions. Thank you for this poem and for the work you did with the men and women who found in poetry a way to saw thru prison bars.

  2. dee says:

    I love this…the rose petals, the way the prompt inspired…the reflection…the beauty in so much hardness…

  3. Terry Farish says:

    Oh, Maren. This may be my favorite of your poems I have read. I’m about to start teaching yoga in the county jail. This poem will be tucked in with us.

    • Maren says:

      Thank you for doing this good work.Are you in Rockingham or Strafford county? One of the two Mass correctional facilities I worked with would not allow “yoga” because the residents did not “deserve” it. The GED teach said — anything that would relax the folks would be a very good thing!!!

  4. dabar96 says:

    Hope, like the blessing of your words, Maren, is something all the guarding in the world can’t keep from slipping in. She hides and tucks so well, into the smallest crease, the tiniest wrinkle, caressing us with her soft petals, awakening our hunger for her scent.

  5. Barbara VanAusdall says:

    This especially spoke to my heart, now that my son has paid his debt to society and is re-connecting with the outside world. I believe I’ll send him some roses. Thank you again!

  6. mbmankin says:

    Maren, As usual, these last two posts have been especially moving and powerful! Thank you. Thank you!

  7. Maren says:

    Thank you so much MaryBeth.

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