Rev. James CohenFirst Chaplain at Holloway Prison, until 1860
I am gladdened
that you have come to me,
for in my company
you will not be judged. You will
find acceptance and understanding.
Feel free to share
and I will not be shocked.
Neither will God, for He has
a timeless love for us all.
Look deeper into your faith
and doubts, reveal your pent-up
guilt of past indiscretions.
Let the names of those who helped you
fall heavy from your lips.
And you will find not
judgement and trial but rather
God's redemption as you are a part
of the body of Christ;
he will protect and guide you.
I am gladdened that you
have come to me, for in
my company you will not be judged.
You will find acceptance
Chaplains were encouraged by authorities to elicit private information from prisoners under the guise of religious and reformative discussion.
Natalie Scott is a Teesside-based poet and educator with a PhD in Creative Writing. She has collections published by Indigo Dreams, Bradshaw Books and Mudfog, as well as many appearances in literary journals including Ambit, Agenda and Orbis. Her collection Berth – Voices of the Titanic was awarded runner-up for the Cork Literary Review Manuscript Competition, 2011. Her latest project Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison was awarded funding from the Arts Council of England.