This Father's Day, as part of our partnership with Safe Ground, we're shining a light on their excellent Fathers Inside workshop – a group-work programme for fathers in prison.
The programme uses drama, fiction, group discussion, games, and written work to enable students to develop and explore their understanding of their role as a father.
We selected four anonymous poems written by Dads in prison that creatively show the challenges, hopes and longing of dealing with separation from their partners and children.
I can't hang up;
Conversation has paused.
Credit is close to spent, but
The call acts like an umbilical cord.
Giving life to me, the foetus,
Giving nutrients to sustain me.
Allowing me to breathe
And my heart to pump I can hear your breath;
Creaks and squeaks from around our home:
I cling on to the connection
That gives me life.
Fathers united by our mistakes.
All regretting our behaviour each night until we wake.
Time to think. fret and pray.
Hoping to survive another day.
Everyday feels like such a waste.
Rest assured we will not again disgrace.
Soul searching and a good look in the mirror.
Information absorbed and wise words from Trevor.
Not again, we are all telling each other.
Selfish fathers, selfless mothers.
It is time to repay the support you have shown.
Determined we all are, to never leave you alone.
Everyone, they say, deserves another chance.
One we will take with both hands and look to enhance.
Until we can return home to be with you all.
Thank you so very much, we can now all stand tall.
My beautiful wife in a pretty summer dress,
Three mischievous boys making a mess.
An idyllic holiday on some faraway land,
Footie on the beach, building castles in the sand.
Sunday dinner on a cold and frosty day,
Zach and Arthur, finger puppets and a made up play.
Hide and seek in a wooded glade,
Sitting in the garden, enjoying the shade.
Spruced and dressed, sipping a glass of wine,
Treating Natalie to a night out to dine.
Heading to Cardiff with two tickets for the game,
I lose you for a moment and have to call out your name.
A passionate visit to our king sized bed,
I wish some days for nothing instead.
The walk to Victoria each day with the boys,
The last day of term when they take their favourite toys.
A cinema trip with boys, whilst Natalie window shops,
Meeting up after for pasta, pizza and viewing her new top.
A boat taxi to the Bay for noodles and beer,
Reilly is tired, frustrated and drenched in tears.
Parent evening where we sit on small chairs, listen with pride,
Then off for a curry, finding a quiet corner to hide.
The cells door clunks but I don't wish to be woken,
But I need to be patient as prison life has again spoken.
Calm yourself please,
Stop racing and escalating.
Thought processes a plenty.
So little calm and quiet.
Thoughts that pop up and say 'hiya’.
Grey and long dark days,
Melancholy is free to invade.
Think of something to steal a pause.
A mountain, a river and tree filled gorge,
Christmas when I was a small boy.
The present under the tree, the sought after toy.
Memories of so happy times,
To fight back the vulgar crimes.
Calm yourself please.
Calm yourself, no more now,
Paranoid stupidity, things so hard to believe.
Of all my given parts you are the devil in me.
I endeavour to absorb spiritual respite,
To conquer the mindless angst and spite.
Positive words of heroic deeds.
Poems and passages that swell the insatiable need.
Not of darkness and dread that crushes the soul,
But clear thoughts of meadows, nature and honest toil.
Beautiful beaches and long days of summer.
Warmth and comfort given by burning embers.
Places unrivalled for the weariest traveller.
Sustenance, wine, family, friends together.
Calm yourself. I am tired now.
Calm yourself, stop your rage, I seek a kiss. an embrace to ease the pain.
Of mind and cognitive cruel games, I hear children's voices. laughter and play,
Images of a gate. a path and a way.
To a home of beauty and much love,
Away from the bitterness, corruption and dread,
A family of treasure troves and so much more.
Night-times of tranquility and the gentle snore.
This is where I should concentrate my mind.
Defeating the villain of mindful crime.
Think positive and uplifting thoughts.
Rise above the cajoling. negativity and dwarf!
Be calm now and let me rest.
Father's Inside is featured in the Channel 4 documentary, Dads Behind Bars
Learn more about Safe Ground.