top of page



"For the next few weeks, I was completely and utterly isolated. I did not see the face or hear the voice of another prisoner. Every hour seemed like a year. There was no natural light in the cell. I had nothing to read, nothing to write on or with.

The mind begins to turn on itself. One desperately wants something outside of oneself to fix one's attention.

After the time in solitary, I relished the company of even the insects in my cell, and found myself on the verge of initiating conversations with a cockroach."

Nelson Mandela/ A long walk to freedom


I have more questions than answers

I am just the story teller


The United Nation's rules dictate that isolation for more than 15 days is torture

At Galt Training School there were isolation cells

Some of the young girls at the Galt Training School for girls

Were held in cells

Cells of torture

Isolation cells

used against young girls

12 to 14 years of age.

In Canada


"The Mandela Rules" on Solitary Confinement have been adopted by the UN



It was 1957 and I was 14 years old

"Loneliness deep and fathomless

Coming at me in waves


Unrelenting darkness

That could bring humanity

Into the pit of insanity

I was drowning in those waves

My mind needed an anchor

To help me stand

To keep my soul alive"

Outside the Gate


"I looked at the sky on the walk back from the cell

Snow was falling softly and there was a full moon

There was a power greater than those people

I knew that power would have the final say

The beauty of the sky

Had the final say

I had won the battle of my mind

A poem formed in my soul"



On that starry night

When the moon was still

No darkness of mankind

Could that beauty steal

That night sky

Was a common grace

Nothing done to me

Could ever replace

The moon was full

It lit the sky

The angels were singing

They were the stars

I had won the battle

Of my mind

On that starry night

Peace was mine

My spirit was unbroken

My mind was clear

No darkness could

That beauty steal

On that starry night

When the world was still

I had won the battle

Of my mind

On that starry night

Peace was mine

j.smith/Outside the Gate


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page