Behind The Bars

A poem by Edward Smyth Jones

I am a pilgrim far from home,
A wanderer like Mars,
And thought my wanderings ne'er should come,
So fixed behind the bars!

I left my sunny Southern home
Beneath the silver stars;
A northward path began to roam,
Not seeking prison bars.

I sought a higher, holier life,
Which never virtue mars;
But Fate had spun a net of strife
For me behind the bars!

My mother's lowly thatched-roofed cot
My nobler senses jars;
And so I seek to aid her lot,
But not behind the bars!

'Tis said, forsooth, the poet learns
Through sufferings and wars
To sing the song which deepest burns
Behind the prison bars!

Thus I resign myself to Fate,
Regardless of her scars;
For soon she'll open wide the gate
For me behind the bars.

I plead to you, my fellow man,
For all who wear the tars;
To lend what little help you can
To us behind the bars.

O God, I breathe my prayer to Thee,
Who never sinner bars:
Set each immortal spirit free
Behind these prison bars!

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