This photo was taken in December during the Christmas Festivities in our town. There were three mannequins modelling wedding gowns for one of the stores. This photo was the best of the lot.


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,
their clothing.
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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20 thoughts on “WPC: INSIDE

  1. I had a similar experience with young orphan children ~ My friends & I completed the required hours but the children wanted us to come back next time ~ We never did and being a sheltered teen at that time, I never understood what life was outside the school ~ Now when I remember the incident I still feel guilty that I didn’t do enough ~ But such was poverty, it was everywhere & overwhelming ~

    Thanks for sharing your story Imelda ~ Have a good week ~

  2. Those recriminations are ones I believe we all have … at least I have and oh ‘if only’ we had done something different. But you’re right you can teach your children and then they can do the same…. though I’m sure at some point they will likely experience something similar themselves… it happens.. Diane

    1. Isn’t that the case with children? They will find areas where they will make mistakes, even when parents tried to cover every base to help the children avoid the parents’ mistakes. And yes, will we can do with those past mistakes is to own them and learn from them. 🙂

  3. Such a sad thing for a young woman to be incarcerated and away from her family. You’ve never forgotten her, Imelda, so the experience must have had a profound influence on you, even though you didn’t realise it at the time. A heartfelt poem and beautiful photo of the mannequin. 🙂

    1. Funny, these feelings only came about a couple of years ago when I read about young people in a sort of a similar situation.
      Thank you for the nice words, Sylvia. 🙂

  4. ..Pero ella te influyó más de lo que piensas, porque aún hoy es el día en que te acuerdas de ella…No fue en vano la visita,..Tal vez el destino impuso que fuera Josephine quien te ayudara, en vez de tú a Josephine…
    Preciosa foto!

  5. Even if you learn a lesson later in life, it’s worth learning. If we learned everything we should when young, we’d be better off, but we’re often not mature enough to understand. Your children will be richer for your experience. And now, so are you! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience.


  6. I like the poem, but I truly enjoyed your piece at the end, about your inspiration for the poem. It would be nice if we had the chance to go back and change things. Since we can’t, at least you can use the experience to guide your children.

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