Posted in Poems

Lessons learned

I learned the stigma of being poor.
People didn’t see me; they saw past me.
I felt faceless, I felt nameless.
I learned not to show my hurt.

They couldn’t see beyond the patches.
Of worn out shoes; threadbare clothes.
Of hunger pangs and lack of energy.
In their eyes I saw no compassion.

My first day in primary one.
I had no uniform nor schoolbag.
I saw the teacher look me up and down.
And I lost my self-confidence.

Being judged for my shabby clothes.
I learned that day what meanness was.
I saw much more of this than kindness.
I saw the double standards of people.

High school was much better.
I still had shabby clothes.
But my schoolmates didn’t shun me.
I was not faceless, I was not nameless,

Through my childhood I had hand-me-downs.
Such kindness I appreciated.
Yet, I dreaded meeting these donors.
For I had to thank them each time.

I felt the embarrassment ten times.
To be reminded so often to my face.
My pride was torn and shattered.
I learned the stigma of being poor.

By C.E. Pereira