24 MARCH 1990, Page 33

Has the Prisoner Anything to Say?

From his dead father's wardrobe nothing would fit him, The pantaloon trousers, the Brobdingnag jackets, The unopened shirts in their cellophane wrappers, The neatly-boxed shoes that his feet would get lost in, And all adding up to a mortal reproach In the polished mahogany vault of the tallboy.

But what of that other reproach of the small boy Who found himself guilty of all he'd grown out of, The snake-belted shorts and the ribbed V-neck sweaters, The Aertex vests with their Cash's name-tapes? So judgement seemed passed by the dead twice over And when that cap fits you must grin and wear it.

John Mole