Out of Line

My teacher gave me a paper
Filled with shapes and lines
She took out all the crayons
And told me to color with mine

Color nicely, with the right colors
Without going out of the lines
And if you need any help – just call me
I’m not hard to find

I started to color my paper
In the lines I was careful to be
But, suddenly without realizing how
My crayon ran out as if free

There was a little boy wearing a shirt
Checkered with buttons all the way down
I planned it to be a deep purple
With grey contrasting around

But now that the purple ran about
Some shirt got on his pants – oy vey
And also on his belt as well. 
So what? I like it this way.

There are children whose shirts 
Peek out from their waist
There are children who sometimes have 
A little dirt from their haste

Children who jump and squirm a little
And don’t sit perfectly straight
Those children who aren’t perfectly clean 
They too are children, top rate

Afterward I colored a house
I drew a light brown square
And started on the triangle roof
But oh! I went out of the line over here

Why should there be a triangle roof?
By me a rectangle appeared
In our house the roof is not triangular
And not by my neighbors house there

In fact, not one house on my block
Has a triangle roof as its head
So why are people always drawing
Triangle roofs that are red?

I do not know, but it does not matter
Again, I simply  --- went out of the lines. 

On the bottom was a flower garden
Four flowers were tall and high
Four flowers were pretty, four flowers were together
And one flower stood on the side

If I were able to, I would fix it
Because the flower seems quite pitiful to me
All five should have been growing straight up
And standing tall and healthy

I had colored each and every stem
Straight as a ruler, straight as a stick
But the stem of the last flower was drawn bent
I drew it a little too quick 

I wasn’t careful with the lines
I drew a bent and broken stem
But who said that the flower is pitiful
That he must stand straight as a gem?

He is allowed to bend toward the ground
To cry until he feels better
Even then – he doesn’t have to quickly stand
Maybe he’s usually redder

On the top of my page there was the sky
With a very small smiling sun
All he was doing was peeking out of the corner
I knew that he couldn’t be done

I took a golden crayon
And colored a large area with yellow
I went out of the lines very much
And drew a happy sunny fellow

For the moment I was thinking of people
Who with their mouths and eyes they smile
Happy people, with big large smiles
That keeps you going for miles

Not like the ones that peek out under the lips
A large smile where people see my teeth
I give out hugs and kisses sometimes even two 
To whomever I meet. 

Why do adults always draw small suns
And smile small smiles, very little through their eyes?
I don’t like small smiles or little smiles
I think of them and sigh

I almost finished my picture
All that’s left is the sky and the ground
But my paper is small and square
Not too much space to be found

Only a little room is left
On top a small spot for the sky
And another small one for the ground
I really don’t understand why

I like to have a lot of ground
Soft, inviting and warm
And a lot of wide open sky
That you can see go on and on

So I continued to color
Without noticing the paper’s side
And I colored on the paper, and on the desk
Making my picture real wide 

I think that my picture is quite nice
And I’m happy that I colored so pretty
I hope it will be appreciated by all
Otherwise it would be a pity

On the bottom of the paper there is a line
The teacher said my name goes there
But I, I who go out of the lines
Will put my name elsewhere
I write in big, bold letters
In the middle of the page
Why not? I’m not embarrassed 
This picture is impressive for my age

Adults always write their name small
In tiny letters in a row
And who said that this little line
Is where my name has to go?

Soon the teacher is going to come
And will choose the prettiest to hang on the wall
I know that again she won’t chose mine
My picture won’t hang there at all

She will tell me that I went out of the lines
She’ll sigh and think again
That I am the type of child
Oh when will I learn, just when

She thinks I’m the child
That doesn’t color within the lines
That doesn’t walk within the lines
That maybe does not know what lines are

But maybe, maybe
Maybe she’ll see this time
That I simply draw
According to different lines.

Hashem created many people
And He sometimes draws out of the line
But when I see those folks
To me they are just fine.

They remind me of all the different ways I color
Sometimes bending the rules a bit
But it doesn’t take away from the beauty and quality
In fact, I think it’s a hit!

Some of these people 
Whose lives are differently ‘lined’
Are still wonderful creatures
And they are not defined.

By all the things that are missing
But rather by what’s there
They help to make the world more beautiful
They teach us how to care.

I like the way Hashem colors
He is the Master Artist of the world
He knows what is best for mankind
And this is the canvas He has unfurled.

This article first appeared in issue #16 of Down Syndrome Amongst Us


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Click here to see the other articles in issue #16 of Down Syndrome Amongst Us