For the wise girls

I am working with a group of young ladies, age eleven. I teach them what they already know. This poem came from our work together.

Remember, when you are older, the wisdom you hold today.

See again this room and this moment,


Your own voice speaking

The lesson of the orange:


That we are as we are

On the outside

Skin bumpy or smooth

Blemished or whole

Bruised or burnished or

Faintly fragrant.


And remember

The orange as it truly wa/is:

Radiant circle of sun

Holding and giving light/fe

Dripping its deep beauty across our finger tips

With irresistible orange-ness.


At age eleven you know

That oranges do not improve

With tucks or tweaks or dressing up.

(I wrote on the orange to make my point and later

I could not wash the eyes and lips and hairdo off.)

We talked about toddlers and tiaras and all the things

That girls and women do

In the name of beautiful.

“That’s fake!” you told me with scorn

In your voice,

Your hair tied back

Above your strong square face.

“That’s fake. Beauty is what you are on the inside.”

And I almost cried

For the beauty of you, and for

The child I was who didn’t know

That simple wisdom


This entry was posted in Poems From the Meditation Space and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Oranges

  1. Jamie Dedes says:

    Oh, if only we lean this young. Well done.

  2. Alix Moore says:

    Thanks, Jamie. That is, perhaps, my mission these days: to teach to ten-year-olds what I did not know until I was nearly 50. And then, of course, I find that these young girls have much to teach me.

    Thanks for visiting!

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