by Jenny

She walked onto the field 
Like she did every day.
Hoping today would be different, 
Hoping they would let her play.

He stood with his friends,
All ready for games.
Choosing teams for baseball
Calling Jenny names.
She was different from the others
Growing up with illnesses
They were scared they'd get them, too
At least that's what they guessed
So they teased and taunted her
And they were merciless.

He joined in their fun
And made Jenny cry.
But deep in his heart,
He never knew why.
For his mother would say, 
Time and time again,

"Treat others with respect, 
As you'd want them to treat you.
When you hurt others,
Think of a day when someone might hurt you."

He knew his mom would not understand
The reason for this game
Of teasing different Jenny.
As her tears fell like rain.

He figured she deserved it
Since she never tried to hide.
If she hated being teased,
Then she should stay inside.

But everyday she'd come outside 
And hope and pray that they
Would allow her to join their games
Be normal for today.
But every day, she'd stand there, 
tears upon her face,
For their goal, it seemed to Jenny
Was to make her feel disgrace.


Two whole months had passed
Since he'd been with his friends.
He was sure they all must wonder
What happened, where he'd been.
He felt nervous, he felt scared
As he limped his way to class.
He prayed no one would notice,
He wished no one would ask.
The cancer and the surgery 
were bad enough for sure
But worse, they left him with a limp
And a red and jagged scar.

He held his breath and prayed
As he opened up the door
A "welcome back" banner and 'get well' balloons
Made him feel much like before.
He couldn't wait to play outside
his favorite thing to do
Expecting friends to welcome him back
He just didn't have a clue.

Instead they stood and stared.
He felt his face get red
With words like 'stay away'and 
'Freaks like you we dread!'
He turned, hoping Jenny 
was the butt of such mean words,
But it was him they taunted
It was him they called a nerd.

He tried to join their laughter,
He tried to not give in
To the awful urge to cry
To the quiver of his chin.
They are only teasing,
He tried hard to believe.
They are still my friends
They'd never think of hurting me.

But the cruel remarks continued
About the scar, about the limp
And when a tear went down his cheek
They labelled him a wimp.

It was then he heard behind him
Words of courage and support
"Leave him alone you meanies!"
And some other stern retorts.
He turned and noticed Jenny, 
With her hands on her hips.
He saw a grimace on her face
As he tried to get a grip.

They tried their best to make her cry,
To make her run away
She held her head up high this time
She was different that day.
And he remembered words he learned 
So very long ago
He understood them now
And now he really knows.

"Treat others with respect, 
As you'd want them to treat you.
When you hurt others,
Think of a day when someone might hurt you."

Jenny wasn't weird to him
He saw her through new eyes.
He knew he'd never play again
The game to make her cry.

It took several days of teasing
And Jenny standing firm
When they understood her strength,
That they couldn't make her squirm.
They learned respect for Jenny, 
and the guy she befriended
And now out on the playground,
The teasing has ended.

A group of kids meets everyday
And anyone joins in
They laugh and play and don't make fun
And every person wins.

 Frog ponds
Write to Jenny
More poetry

Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Published: November 14, 2004