After a While

I remember the very first time I read this poem.  It was the first one that resonated with me at 15.  It’s amazing to see the impact it still has 16 years later.  I love it as much today (if not more), than the first time I read it.  It was the catalyst for my own writing.  I hope you enjoy it as much I do:

After a while you learn
The subtle difference between
Holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t always mean security.

And you begin to learn
That kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of a woman
Not the grief of a child

And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid flight

After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers

And you learn
That you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
With every good bye you learn.

Veronica A. Shoffstall – After a While


6 Responses to “After a While”

  1. Love It. Thanks for sharing.

  2. So wise and so true. No wonder it resonated w/ you–it reads like you could have written it, Shea. You are that good and I love you.

    • Jenny–Wow, thank you! It was truly the inspiration of my own writing. I have to admit, the first time I read it–the writer was “Norah, an anonymous woman in a Massachusetts prison”. I can’t help but wonder who the true author is.
      In either case, it’s equally powerful and left a strong impact. Good poetry is a beautiful thing.

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