A poem composed by a former inmate at HMP Dumfries has ‘wowed’ members of the Cake and Questions group.

The work, ‘The Day a Spake tae the Lord’,  by a prisoner identified only as David, took the eye of Joan Warwick, who bought it when it was on display at a recent exhibition of prisoners’ art and poetry held at Kings coffee & book shop on Queensbury Street.

The poem struck an immediate chord with Joan as it was relevant to a discussion the group had just held.

Said Joan: “It coincided with our talk about God and does he speak to you through other people, and do angels look like us, or what do they look like?

The poem, which is written in the Scots language, tells of an encounter between two prisoners in a cell at Dumfries and, in a twist at the end, one of them ponders if the other was the Lord or just another inmate of the same name

Joan Warwick reading the prisoner's poem, at the back of the church on the notice board.
Joan Warwick reading the prisoner’s poem, at the back of the church on the notice board.

Joan, of Glencaple Avenue, said: “I took a copy back to the group and everybody was so interested. They said more people really should see this. They were taken with it, as I was. It has a wow factor.

“At the end, you think, my goodness was that really the Lord or somebody called Lord. It’s the question of how God speaks to you.

“I got the impression this poem was written by a man who knows a bit about theology – about the Lord and the dispensing of forgiveness. He betrays quite a knowledge of the grace of God which is not understood by everybody.”

The work was one of a number of poems and paintings that were displayed in the prison last March at what is to become an annual exhibition of inmates’ work. It later was shown at the coffee shop after being selected by manager Helen Smith, a regular visitor to the prison in her role as pastor at the River of Life Church on Lovers Walk.

John Oates, the prison’s learning centre manager, said he remembered the poem and it just emphasised what quality work the prisoners produce.

He said: “The person who wrote this poem has since left Dumfries. He also wrote another that was called ‘Big Brother’.

“He had never done anything like this before, but he attended art, English and creative writing classes here. It is an example of the high standard of the prisoners’ work whether they are paintings or written work.”

The poem has been donated to St John’s by Joan, wife of retired minister Revd Gordon Warwick. It is currently on display at the back of the church.

 

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St John's Church

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