U for Umbrella Words

          
      The assistant can hardly see me. She waves pointing towards the bread 
          'Did you want the loaf sliced?' I nod, becoming aware of people 
                queuing  behind me, and quickly add 
             'And can I have two of these cakes please?’ 
          ‘These are not cakes, they are gateaux’, she says. 
  	    I shake my head in assent but I dare not point 
                    to the tempting curly pastry 
                      with shiny raisins in it. 

    		        She’ll perhaps say 
                     that it isn’t a snail 
                         but an escargot.  
                         The  next  day 
 	               if I wanted to buy 
                         an umbrella, 
 	   	         would I call it 
                         a parasol or
                         a parapluie?

Nightmare for officers

Communication was difficult

due to lack of facilities in a prison.

Prisoners were sometimes refused

pen, paper or envelopes.

Some of the duty officers could be punitive

or unwilling to act.

In  the education centre, tutors often worked around that:

pulled out pages, force- scribbled pens,

sharpened  pencils.

Student prisoners sometimes came back with

a poem,

other times with a letter for which they needed

an envelope.

They said they could buy stamps but the shop had

no envelopes.

Last night my dream became

a prison administrator’s nightmare.

Education received

a gross of envelopes.

Every prisoner who wanted could send letters!