SAMPLES: LSW Prison Project Witslings
HMP WOODHILL - 13TH January 1999

(In WitSlings participants choose one line of Shakespeare for a presented text, in this case a small section of Venus & Adonis, and are given three minutes in which to write four to six lines of original verse in iambic pentameter (five stress lines). Please note that all of the following offender samples were written by school-leavers, entirely separately. The verses below were unified only by the lines of the Bard by which they were inspired which you will find underscored in the examples noted below. It was particularly wonderful to witness that after our first session at HMP (Her Majesty’s Prison) Woodhill with fourteen inmates, we had a subscription of twenty nine residents for our second sojurn. One officer, Christine, said she had never seen so large a list.)

Love is All Truth; Lust full of Forgéd Lies

Love is all truth; lust full of forgéd lies
It often promises but fails to free me whole
from this dilemma which I find myself in now.
I found the girl, but now she’s gone away.
May heart’s in disarray, but I do love in hope.


She says ‘tis so’; They answer all ‘tis so’
Their wan words she rolls, remarkably slow
To fit the movement of her calling eyes,
That questing passion, searching her insides.
For on her call we’ll dance this wild tirade
And she, so bright, will lead us from the shade.


Which after him she darts, as one on shore
Just like yon moon behind dark clouds before.
Now sees her brightest star shoot from the sky,
Her naked beauty balm for hidden eyes.
With sadness weighing down his broken heart
A lonley tear looked on at her depart.


I asked her if she would away with me.
She brought her friend along and that made three.
I tossed her friend from off the ‘rocking’ boat
and found the rotter had begun to float.
So she’d be next, and after her I’d go
And would say after her: ‘Well, you said no!’

John Ralph

Her song was tedious and outwone the night
And if ‘he’d’ seen her without clothes he’d had a fright.
By God her curves were ample and caused delight
But she was BORING - and out went the light
Thus avoiding a very nasty fight.

Nicholas Wookey

But lust’s affect is tempest after sun
As I lay down molten sweat starts to run.
I feel the heat beat at so quick a pace
That sun beats down and starts to burn my face.
I shirt myself into the comfort of the shade,
But, as I move, that sun begins to fade.


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