There was a woman, Josephine
she was stuck in a correctional
she was a young mother and wife
I have forgotten about her crime.
Funny! I was there to find out
the circumstances of her life
and her stay
to comply with my college requirements.
It was one of those exposure trips
to teach us how the unfortunate lived
(and perhaps to serve)
that we may be thankful for our lives
and not repeat their mistakes.
So I talked with Josephine
who kindly showed me life in prison
the sort of food they have,
I was glad to know
I’d be able to graduate from college soon –
aware of society’s ills –
with some guidance
from an unsuspecting soul
who repaid me with kindness
though I considered her
like fish in an aquarium.
The little poem was inspired by an experience I had a long time ago. The university I attended, an elite school back home, encouraged exposure trips to the peripheries of society – the prison, the slums, etc. – to open our eyes to the need and want in the world, to teach us how privileged we are, and hopefully, to awaken in our young hearts and minds the spirit of selflessness and service for others. To me, it was just one requirement to graduation so I complied. In my young mind, I was being nice to go to such difficult places. Years later and to this day, I learned how wrong I was and I felt sorry for Josephine because I felt I “used” her to advance my own dreams. I am not saying this to discredit the program of the school or its objectives. Many good things have come out of that program and many young men and women actually responded to the call to serve. I only wish that I did so differently, perhaps followed through, by maintaining a genuine human relationship with Josephine. I could have corresponded with her to cheer her up while serving her time. I could have done this….. I could have done that…. I wish. I wish. There’s one lesson I learned that I an teach my children.
Thank you for coming by. Happy Sunday. 🙂
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