This past weekend, I had intended to travel to Maryland to see Mary Oliver and Billy Collins, but work and forecasts of Sandy altered those plans. I ended up having a quiet weekend at home. On Saturday, I didn’t leave the house except to go to the grocery store, and on Sunday, I worked and spent a couple of quality hours in the company of friends. I’m sad to have missed two of my favorite poets in what felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity, but I’m thankful for my safety and the opportunity to just be this weekend.
After this much needed weekend of rest, I’m feeling like a poem. Maybe I should offer one by Mary Oliver or Billy Collins, but as luck would have it, I came across a new poem – new to me anyhow – on Facebook this morning. A friend posted this one by Veronica Shoffstall, and I thought I’d borrow it. I looked it up online to see where the breaks are and how really this was intended to be formatted, but every version I found was different, so I don’t know. So forgive me, Ms. Shoffstall, if I’ve lost the structure. But thank you for the words. I know at least one dear friend who might benefit from them today.
After A While
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 are not 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, you really are strong, you really do have worth.
And you learn, and you learn
With every goodbye, you learn.