Prison Poetry

When transformation touches a person deeply, often poetry is the best medium of expression. Since the start of Inner Freedom for the Imprisoned programs in 1992, Isha Foundation has received thousands of poems penned by once hardened criminals to share their experience of yoga. Here are a few.


Branded a criminal am I
An outcaste amongst the refuse of society
An ultimate guest of the gallows am I

Heedless to the advice of the innumerable good
Imbibe I did the wisdom of this yogic science

To those I counted my foes before
My smile the only answer now
Forever in me, love in action and being

- V. Radhakrishnan, (Convict on Death row)
Block 8, Room no. 25
Central Prison, Palayamkottai, Tamil Nadu, India

Like the sun you illumined darkened hearts
Divine in meditation, my evils you uprooted
Seventy years of living would imbibe not
these seven days of wisdom
Yes, now unfolds a new meaning to my life.

- C. Kanakavel
No. 4579
Remand Section I, Block 4
Madurai Central Prison.
I Became God

A flower in the garden of life
Reduced to a rotting leaf,

A journey into myself, a rebirth again
The death of a meaningless existence
Love is me... they say god is love
I became god... I became god!

The power of love has freed this soul
This flower has bloomed again
Flower to ashes, the rule of nature
But ashes to blossom, the miracle of Isha

- N. Magudeshwaran
Convict no.75659
Coimbatore Central Prison, Tamil Nadu, India.


Starting from where I am
Right here, right now
I reach within to the
Inner Self

Knowing that I am
What I am because
Of where and what
I've been - I seek

The fulfilled whole
That comes only with
Control - of what is
Truly my own

My head, heart, hands
And Energy - will put
My life in sync with
Universal Synergy

I am aware
And in clarity of
This Moment
I am ONE

- Russell Wm. Selby
Inmate no.AY832
SCI-Dallas, Pennsylvania

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