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After a While You Learn


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 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 man or 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 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.

- Veronica A. Shoffstall
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