My favorite poem. EVER.

I love this poem.  A friend shared it at JV soccer practice during my sophomore year of boarding school.  I’ve kept it tucked away for years and recently came across it. The corners of the paper are worn soft, no longer ninety-degree angles.  I read it when my heart was broken, when I broke someone’s heart, and when I graduated from NMH and St. Lawrence and my friends scattered in a dozen directions from me.  I read it when a friend died too young, when I felt lost and didn’t know what was next, and at moments when I just needed an emotional lift for reasons I could not put a finger to.  ENJOY!


After awhile you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn’t 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 you head up and your eyes open.
With the grace of maturity, 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 awhile 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 really are strong
And that you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn and learn ….
With every goodbye you learn.

-Veronica A. Shoftstall




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