Walls Do Fall as Wills May Not

Razor edged wire, threatens no more
pock marked walls show soul’s erosion
wind, humidity and whipping post,
rotters in this Devils’ Isle.

Faceless among spirits’ wails,
I roam this prison centuries freed.
Death’s release forced my choice
and I am staid midst crumbling stone.

My crimes were but a patriot’s wish
allegiance not to putrefied wigs,
but to the poor and scrabbling ones
who sought but food and voice.

I swear to you, the sun cared more
within these exiled walls,
than in London’s teeming lanes
and me upon bended knee.

I watch you, with eyes no more
buildings turned to crypt
by guards decrepited, paneless,
upright never then, and failing now.

I see those who cannot see me
workers, reclaimers and visitors alike,
bodies who will never understand
restoration shall never be.


Motivated by dVerse Poet’s Pub: Victoria  tending the bar asked us to think about Me, Myself, and I…..or Is It? and write a poem in the first person.  This piece is inspired by both the ruins and the history of Bermuda. Photo is at the Royal Naval Dockyard — the Casemates, built in 1839 by British convicts. These buildings were first used to house militia and later became a prison. Some restoration work has occurred — the climate here takes its toll on the old and the new.



31 thoughts on “Walls Do Fall as Wills May Not

    • lillian February 26, 2016 / 2:07 pm

      Thank you, Bjorn. It really gets the imagination going when exploring the ruins here in this beautiful setting.


  1. Victoria C. Slotto February 26, 2016 / 1:57 pm

    Impressive piece of history encased in strong poetry, Lillian. This reminds me a bit of Alcatraz island whose walls must hold so many stories of hopelessness. The third stanza made the story all the more tragic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian February 26, 2016 / 2:09 pm

      Yes, I’ve been to Alcatraz. I think the sea and wind and blown sand work their erosion in such a way that makes it all the more tragic to see those walls. Memories encased…..and here, you add the humidity and the ruins are almost palpable in their wailing. Thank you for the kind comments! I really enjoyed this prompt.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. navasolanature February 26, 2016 / 2:27 pm

    This is so profound. And there still seems to be the need to build walls between people. Will we ever learn?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian February 26, 2016 / 2:34 pm

      So very glad you enjoyed this one. Thank you so much for your much appreciated words here.

      Liked by 1 person

    • lillian February 27, 2016 / 5:07 am

      Thank you so much. We’d just taken a walk that included these decaying buildings. They make the imagination travel backwards – seem haunted…


  3. Melinda Kucsera February 26, 2016 / 4:05 pm

    reminds me of Sing Sing prison just down the road from where I live. I used to ride the train, which passed mere feet from its barb wired walls when I worked in the city. You poem evoked the hopeless dread sight of that place evoked.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Misky February 27, 2016 / 9:57 am

    I find old prisons to be very unnerving. Excellent poem. >


    • lillian February 27, 2016 / 11:22 am

      Thank you — yes, the imagination brings wails and poor souls to mind….


    • lillian February 29, 2016 / 6:34 am

      Thank you! Truly appreciate your words here….happy I am.


  5. kanzensakura February 28, 2016 / 2:16 pm

    so much history in this, so much understanding of the past lived in its walls. It reminds me of a line I read in a book about a visit to a deserted seraglio – the walls sweated with their tears and stank of their petty jealousies….so much feeling for a time and a space….

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian February 29, 2016 / 6:35 am

      Thank you Toni…..and for the beautiful line you’ve quoted here!


      • kanzensakura February 29, 2016 / 3:32 pm

        oddly, the line is from a book about a vampire who was an ambassador during Elizabeth I…..

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Bryan Ens February 28, 2016 / 9:11 pm

    Wonderful idea to tell a story from the perspective of a building.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian February 29, 2016 / 6:35 am

      Thank you, Bryan. So glad you liked it!


  7. mishunderstood February 29, 2016 / 2:34 pm

    History holds so much emotion here in these walls and I love that you’ve given them a voice. It is as though they are hanging on to tell their stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 5, 2016 / 11:28 am

      I felt the ghosts here…….Glad that you enjoyed this one!


  8. ghostmmnc February 29, 2016 / 4:43 pm

    Old ruins of buildings and houses do hold on to the essences of the people who lived and worked there. You can feel it when you are there. I do love anything that has such history, and maybe even tales of ghosts and hauntings. Prisons interest me, too, as my husband just retired from working in the one here for over 20 years. Wonderful take on the prompt.


    • lillian March 5, 2016 / 11:27 am

      So slow I am in response. Apologies! Bermuda has been calling me more than the words — but I am back to my reading and writing. So nice to see your words here! Thank you!


  9. katiemiafrederick March 3, 2016 / 11:17 am

    Human prisons rust
    Human’s Love rusts..
    Human Freedom SinGs
    with only Trust.. asSonG
    wIth Love
    and fearless
    oF FiRe

    Liked by 1 person

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