Ghetto Girl

photography of roadway during dusk
Photo by Jiarong Deng on Pexels.com

There’s no place for her upon the playground
for she’s not so fast or quite as pretty
When she asks them they laugh and run around calling
“Homely girl, go back to town.”
So she shakes her fist in anger
to hide the feelings she has inside her
she runs as far as the school-yard will let her
the teachers call “Hey girl, don’t you hide.”

“I’ll run as far away as my legs will let me go.”
She curses and mumbles under her breath
Stares at her legs, at the scars of long ago and she’ll carry them until her death.

They laugh, the children laugh
at the way she never smiles.
They make fun of her, or just leave her alone;
For the ghettos stretch for miles and miles
and she always has to go home.

When she gets there she has to listen
for someone unseen who’s visiting while her father’s away
She reaches deep in her pocket for the key
The noise is behind closed doors, so it’s okay…

The teachers don’t understand why she doesn’t seem to learn
or why she doesn’t even care.
But what is there for her to try and ever earn
there’s no one to share it with
no one is ever there.

They laugh, the children laugh
at the way she never smiles.
They make fun of her or just leave her alone;
For the ghettos stretch for miles and miles
and she always has to go home.

She is always on her own
Does anybody care…
just how alone?

 

Many years ago, I wrote these lyrics and my brother Bert put them to music. Always had a special place in my heart. Every child deserves to be loved and cherished. This simple belief led us to adopt five wonderful children who were all born into tough situations.

These words, in no way, are intended to imply that parents raising children in impoverished settings are not loving and involved. In fact, many of these parents are heroic as they teach values and instill integrity in their children while living in such dangerous settings. They are to be applauded and respected for the incredible odds they help their kids overcome.

But this little girl… scars on her legs from beatings, and strangers coming in-and-out of her home… she gets mocked at school as well. “They laugh, the children laugh at the way she never smiles.” Where does a child like this find refuge?

When I wrote this, I simple wanted to create a brief word-picture that causes us to ask ourselves, “do we really care?” If so, then what actions are we called to take?

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