different by Phil Burns

Click here to hear the poet read his words:


the smell is overwhelming
the others move away
with angry hands and voices
tell him he can not stay

he is confused and broken
unsure why he was picked
sly smiles at edge of vision
tell him he has been tricked

the child approaches carefree
with a clear unpoisoned mind
despite no common language
says his tormentors are unkind

she points up at the street lights
her eyes are twinkling stars
her words uncomprehended
still reach deep into his heart

the ill-will is forgotten
the mother leads the way
now gentle hands and voices
tell him that he can stay

to be different is unwelcome
except through a child’s eyes
until she too is taught to hate
with bigotry and lies

but he moves quickly onwards
to another hostile town
where angry hands and voices
will bring the curtain crashing down

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2 Responses to different

  1. jenne49 says:

    How could I be rude about such a moving poem showing childhood innocence and anguish?Beautiful and sad, it captures a memory I think most of us can relate to. Definitely a poem for our time.


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