Ye Visited Me Not

Study No. 47

  Enclosed, you will find a poem which I wrote some years ago . . . . It is a true story, yet no names are mentioned . . . . I have been in prison going on five years now and these are the feelings of many men in here. I just hope that it may be an inspiration to keep the young people of today out of places such as this.


Dear Mrs. [blank]

Though we have never met, I know much about you. I know that you have hair that shines like the sun shimmering on a rippling lake, flowing with every movement like that of a lazy river; eyes that hold the blueness of the deepest sea and the clearness of the fairest sky; a smile that has the sparkle of a diamond with the warmth to melt the coldest heart.

You are no doubt wondering who I am and why I am saying these things. These are the words and thoughts of a man who spent many heart breaking years behind prison walls. The man who worshipped the very ground you walked on. He had a picture of you. It was old, faded, and torn, but you could tell at a glance that he never exaggerated in his visions. He never left his cell without first feeling in his shirt pocket to see if it was still there. He was a young man when he first came to prison and he talked a great deal about you. But as the years passed, he talked less and less. During his last year here, I donít believe he uttered a word. He had the appearance of a man much older than he really was. He walked with his head down and his shoulders sagging. The walk itself seemed to take a great deal of effort.

He never received a letter or a visit while he was here, but he never stopped looking, waiting, and hoping. Everyday at mail call, you could see him standing next to his bars with the look of a child awaiting a reward. Even after the mailman had passed his cell, his eyes went on pleading, like just before you cry.

I thought you might like to know, they buried him today, just outside the prison walls. They buried him there because no one cared enough to claim his body. There were a couple of convicts here who actually cried! No, not for him, it was for what he died of ó loneliness! Every prisoner knows loneliness, only some know it more than others. The man they buried today had died many times. Everyday that he waited, hoping, praying for a letter or a card . . . or just a note, anything, to just let him know that someone cared enough to take a few moments out of his life to assure him that someone did care.

That assurance never came and he died. He died from loneliness! Starved for love, a love that no one wanted to give. You see, no man, woman, or child is immune to needing to be loved. No matter how terrible his crime might have been, the death he died was inhuman. His suffering is over. He is resting in his grave in a prison suit and in his pocket is an old faded picture of you.

ó written by Manuel Torres #39362, inmate of Oregon State Prison W

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