~ * ~ My Favorite Poem ~ * ~

This poem has been a favorite of mine for a very long time. I read it for the first time many years ago in an Ann Landers column. The author was Anonymous. On September 16th, 2001, I received an email giving me the name of the author along with a link to her website. At long last I'm so grateful to be able to give proper credit. Today, we call it INTEGRITY.  Thank you, Veronica, for your beautiful poem and "thank you" Cara for finding her for me. !! Cara has her own poetry site called: Poetry Patchwork. Please take a few minutes to visit her wonderful site!

Message from the author, Veronica Shoffstall.

This poem has been plagiarized, bastardized, renamed, reworded, redesigned, expanded and reduced. But it is my work, which I wrote at the age of 19 and had published in my college yearbook. Why anyone would want to claim it is beyond me, but for what it's worth, I wrote it, and if I'd known it was going to be this popular, I'd have done a better job of it. - V.S.)


"After a While"

own garden stringbean

After a while, you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand & chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company 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 your head up and your eyes open,

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 midflight.

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 you really do have worth.

And you learn and you learn . . .
With every goodbye . . . You learn.

© 1971 Veronica A. Shoffstall.