A Poem by Dennis Brutus

Particularly in a single cell,
but even in the sections
the religious sense asserts itself;

perhaps a childhood habit of nightly prayers
the accessibility of Bibles,
or the awareness of the proximity of death:

and, of course, it is a currency –
pietistic expressions can purchase favours
and it is a way of suggesting reformation
(which can procure promotion);

and the resort of the weak
is to invoke divine revenge
against a rampaging injustice;

but in the grey silence of empty afternoons
it is not uncommon
to find oneself talking to God.

– Dennis Brutus
Letters to Martha and Other Poems from a South African Prison