For Those of us in Prison There is Only One Season the Season of Sorrow

The very sun and moon seem taken from us. Outside, the day may be blue and gold, but the light that creeps down through the thickly-muffled glass of the small iron-barred window beneath which one sits is grey and niggard. It is always twilight in one’s cell, as it is always twilight in one’s heart.

I know not whether Laws be right, Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who lie in jail Is that the wall is strong;
And that each day is like a year, A year whose days are long.
But this I know, that every Law. That men have made for man,
Since first Man took his brother's life, And this sad world began,
This too I know — and wise it were If each could know the same
That every prison that men build Is built with bricks of shame,
And bound with bars lest men should see How men their brothers maim.

For us in prison, suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods and chronicle their return. With us, time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle around one centre of the pain. The paralysing immobility of a life every circumstance of which is regulated after an unchangeable pattern, so that we eat and drink and lie down and pray, or kneel at least for prayer, according to the inflexible laws of an iron formula: this immobile quality, that makes each dreadful day in the very minutest detail like its brother, seems to communicate itself to those external forces the very essence of whose existence is ceaseless change.

Of seed-time or harvest, of the reapers bending over the corn, or the grape gatherers threading through the vines, of the grass in the orchard made white with broken blossoms or strewn with fallen fruit: of these, we know nothing and can know nothing.

Oscar Wilde, "From the Depths", HMP Reading, January/March 1897