Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My boys dun good

They were marvellous!

It was the first night of the prison carol service yesterday. People with fancy gold chains mingled with inmates, the Sally Army band tooted their hearts out, and my boys read their monologues brilliantly.

All my early waking and worrying was needless, although as more and more people filed into the auditorium (aka visiting area) I could sense my boys tensing, but as soon as they stood up and began, their 'professionalism' took over. One of them is a media graduate but the other had never read to a large group before; strangely enough it was the drama bod who seemed most nervous. Or maybe not strangely enough: drama students can be rather melodramatic!

At the end the Lord Lieutenant of Glamorgan came over to congratulate them, as did a few other guests. And then it was back to their cells ready to do it all again tonight.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Right back at the start when I first went in, I asked the three men I was working with then (who over the course of the weeks changed into the completely different two I ended up with) about prison at Christmas. The first poem the boys read last night uses almost the exact words the first men you used to describe what it was like. I wrote the alternating lines to fit in.

Christmas is a special day.
Christmas is just another day in the big mansion.
I have an advent calendar and I count down the days to Christmas.
Time is irrelevant; I don’t keep track.
I love it when the Christmas adverts start on television.
The adverts start in October and all the jingles fry your 'ead.
I make a list of presents I’d like
Seeing stuff you can’t have
And things I want to buy for the children.
Knowing I can’t provide what I’d like for my kids.
And then Christmas Day itself, I love it.
Christmas Day does my 'ead in.
Being with the family,
No visits,
Eating Christmas dinner
All the nice food you can’t have,
Phoning family who can’t be with us,
Feeling like I’m interrupting if I phone my family
And those unexpected surprises.
Knowing what you’re going to be doing on Christmas Day and every day after it.
It’s just a wonderful day spent with people I love.
I’d rather shut myself away.
I love Christmas and I always feel a bit sad when it’s over.
Best thing is to ignore it and wait for January. A new month is good – it means another one has gone.