I have a pair of foreign shoes
That's grown along with me.
It's something I would never lose
Because it helps me see.
I've learned to wear these shoes each day,
Wherever I may go.
They have not yet led me astray
And I respect them so.
Dear reader, you may be wond'ring,
"What kind of shoes are these?"
So here is a tale of stunning
Growth; listen as you please.
When I was six, the shoes were white,
A blank canvas, if you will.
They hugged my feet and felt so light –
No color, lace or frill.
I wore these shoes to grade one,
Where I met a little girl,
Who never wanted to play or run,
And refused to dance or twirl.
I couldn't understand her silence.
Why was she so odd?
So I overcame my own shyness,
And gave myself a nod.
One day, before lunch ended,
I walked, toward the girl, with a plan.
I approached with my arm extended,
Wanting to shake her hand.
She timidly took my hand in hers,
And I offered her smile.
Delighted, we started to converse...
We spoke for a while.
I learned that she'd just come
From a country far away.
English words, she knew only some.
So she was scared to play.
Afraid that, she, we wouldn't include,
She had kept to herself.
Her path of solitude,
Was a tough hand with which she dealt.
As she spoke in broken English,
I could feel her pain.
I could feel her yearning and wish
For others to know her name.
I looked around me, through her eyes,
And realized that I'd feel the same.
With a heart full of compassion, I told her to rise,
And in the grass, we played a game.
When I left school for home that day,
My shoes were no longer white.
Green grass stains from our hour of play,
Were on them – they were quite a sight!
And so the year, and many more, passed by,
But I never forgot that day,
Which gave me the gift of empathy,
And taught me more about understanding, than I can say.
Today, the shoes are completely soiled,
But I love them to my very core.
For the stains and marks have not spoiled
Them, but have enhanced my life even more.
Because now, the shoes I walk in,
Are not solely mine.
These shoes are made of foreign
Bits and pieces that I love (for the whiteness, I do not pine).
Every person I come across,
I try to understand.
Because whether it's with loneliness or loss,
Everyone could use empathy's helping hand.
I am empathetic, and I walk in foreign shoes.