Each and every day I’m exposed to stories of heartache and resilience from youth that are searching for their own identity. Their stories range from optimistic to tragic. Today, I’m sharing a poem by Lily Eagle Dorman-Colby called “A Ripened Fuji!”
I wasn’t a rotten apple, But you wouldn’t eat me
You see I was picked too early, And never got a chance to ripen
I did not leave on my own accord, I was thrown in the back of a dusty truck
Leaving my farm, Cramped in the stiff cardboard box
On a road that only got windier
Of all the places, I was placed on your shelf
You never liked me, You see, I did not go bad
I just, I just wasn’t handled with care,
My peel now carries permanent bruises
You’re afraid my bitterness will rub off on your tongue
No matter how tough I pretend to be, You see, I have a soft spot
And you think, I am going to fall apart on you
You see my scars, then shudder and turn away. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be loved
I was left in a basket with far more desirable fruits.
And when they were all snatched up, I remained.
You were to afraid to toss me out, Yet, you felt guilty leaving me there
You passed by me hoping I would somehow grow younger
Hoping someone else will help me, Or put me out of my misery, But no one will
And now you realize this, You will toss me out in the morning before work
I will not blame you, I am a ripened Fuji
And I understand how the world works
I have grown older, and sweet, And even with my bruises, I still shine
I was not a bad apple, You just wouldn’t eat me.
Lily wrote this poem about her life from an apple’s perspective. What would the world be like if you were an apple endlessly waiting to be eaten? After writing the poem, the author realized it was actually about her experience in foster care. Fortunately, later while living in more supportive environments, she found a stronger sense of self. School became important to her. She excelled in her classes and took part in many extracurricular activities. After high school, she received scholarships, graduated from Yale University in 2010 and pursued her law degree from UC Berkeley Law.
All kids, regardless of their background, need loving, supportive relationships with caring adults. There are many opportunities to help a young person. It just takes TIME. Consider volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club, and help spread love and caring of our most vulnerable children.
Together we can do more!