You can imprison a body, but you cannot cage a man’s soul. There have been some “great” prisoners through the years. People who used their time in custody wisely and continued to fight for their cause. Time looks upon such people kindly. Nelson Mandela, Thomas Francis Meagher, Bobby Sands, Mohandas Gandhi, Leon Trotski, Aung San Suu Kyi. For the smart person prison can represent an opportunity as much as a setback, a classic case of life giving you lemons and you make lemonade. Many people know the Ballad of Reading Gaol, but it is not the only tale of woe from the Irish guest of his Majesty who had nothing to declare but his genius. Sadly his time in prison gave him only a very limited redemption. The fight for homosexual rights is far from won.
At Verona; by Oscar Wilde
HOW steep the stairs within Kings’ houses are
For exile-wearied feet as mine to tread,
And O how salt and bitter is the bread
Which falls from this Hound’s table,–better far
That I had died in the red ways of war,
Or that the gate of Florence bare my head,
Than to live thus, by all things comraded
Which seek the essence of my soul to mar.
‘Curse God and die: what better hope than this?
He hath forgotten thee in all the bliss
Of his gold city, and eternal day’–
Nay peace: behind my prison’s blinded bars
I do possess what none can take away,
My love, and all the glory of the stars.