Poetic Meaning – After A While

Poetic Meaning – After A While

When I was seventeen, my mother gave me a poem she cut out from the newspaper, which had been posted by Ann Landers a syndicated columnist who answered people’s questions about life and death.  At the time my mother gave me this poem, I had my heart broken by my first crush.  But, over time the poem has carried a lot of different meanings in my life depending on what I was experiencing.  Now that my mother has passed away, it has sentimental value.

I thought I’d share the poem, here.

The poem was written by Veronica A. Shoffstall and Ann Landers gave it the title, Comes the Dawn.  But, Shoffstall originally titled the poem, After A While.

After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul.  
And you learn 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 mid-flight.
After a while you learn,
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So 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

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