'A Time to Learn' - Bobby's poem for the PLA Awards

28 Sep 2017

Bobby Kasanga, founder of Hackney Wick FC, writer and PET alumnus, wrote this poem inspired by the nomination letters received from prisoners for the 2017 PLA Awards.  

 Read more about our PLA winners here.

Time to Learn – by Bobby Kasanga

You can look at me and say I'm a prisoner of the government

But if you look deeper you can see I'm just a resident at this establishment

I took risks, I gambled and I broke the rules,

Perhaps it stems from my younger days bunking off school

So I'm here now, ready to start again

Hmm but it's been a long time since I used a pen

But who will show me? And who will help me?

I want to learn new things but the thought overwhelms me

They look at me as if I'm stupid

What was I thinking? I can't do this

But wait, did they just say hello, was that a smile?

First time I've seen one of those in this place in a while

"How are you?" "Who me?" I guess you want my prison number" "

No, let's start with your name, by the way that's a cool jumper"

"Have you ever thought about further learning?"

"I have, but not to sure about the little I'll be earning"

"Just try it out, what's the worst that can happen"

"Perhaps it will be the escape from this place I'm trapped in"

Wow, I didn't know all these words when I started.

The alphabet is amazing

To think I'd otherwise be in my cell being lazy

A is for Alphabet

B is because she believed in me

C is because he gave me confidence

D is because she was down to earth

E is because I felt encouraged

F is because he was friendly

I'm not going to do the whole list

As I'm sure by now you have the gist

It all started with a smile and a conversation

And now I believe I can further my education

Now I can put all my mistakes behind me

I was always intelligent, just needed a voice to remind me

There are many others just like me,who just need to feel that somebody cares

Now I have certificates that were unlikely, and to you this great news I share

If you're angry then I'll be angry

If you smile then I'll smile

It's only circumstances that highlights differences but really we are the same

Treat me well and I'll do likewise, by the way David is my name


Bobby first performed this poem at the PLA Conference 2017. Read more about the conference and access materials, pictures, and slides here.