Wandsworth Jail

When I became a soldier, I obtained

An education in the darker arts:

Now I can groom and, if I am detained,

Deceive my captors with my army smarts.

Security avoidance isn’t hard

When you are strapped beneath a Bidfood truck

On leaving Wandsworth prison, if a guard

Recruited through your grooming fails to duck

To check the chassis … It’s no secret that

His Majesty’s Armed Forces wish you would

Join up, but their recruitment ads fall flat

And they’re short-handed. I can make it good:

I got away because my training’s ace—

Let posters for the army show my face!


Mike Mesterton-Gibbons is a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at Florida State University who has returned to live in his native England. His acrostic sonnets have appeared in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Better Than Starbucks, The Creativity Webzine, Current Conservation, the Ekphrastic Review, Grand Little Things, Light, Lighten Up Online, MONO., the New Verse News, Oddball Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, the Satirist, the Washington Post and WestWard Quarterly. The poem was prompted by the Daily Mirror story, “Suspected terrorist on run will have been ‘trained to escape’ and ‘groom’ people.”