After a while – Veronica A. Shoffstall

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 aren’t 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 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…

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Published in: on May 6, 2007 at 12:14 pm  Comments (46)  

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46 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I did read it with a big smile
    as u were sending a message to me :)

    Thank you

  2. INTERESTING..you know what; I was actually cleaning up my mailbox and I found it..felt like it is a message addressed to me, it hit a nerve keda..and the timing could ‘ve never been better. I read it and post with a big smile bardo. Pleasure.

  3. thanks for sharing,
    I especially liked the part:
    “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.”

  4. “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.”

    nerro… love this one

  5. Nousha: you are welcome :D

    Blue: I love this part awi kaman

  6. I liked what you wrote and it mirrors your inner beauty and sensitivity to life circumstances.

    all the best.. :)

  7. [...]  After a while – Veronica A. Shoffstall [...]

  8. I would really like someone to explain this poem to me. I wish I could understand it. My good friends received it and do not know what to make of it, and it seems I cannot help. Please?

  9. I know and admire Ms. Shoffstalls work. To me, personally, in all the love and loss I have endured, transcended and ultimately benefitted from the experiences of; it represents the loss of the child-like innocence we cling to and the transition that opens our eyes to in part, that we live and love with no guarantees and in doing so step by painful step we begin to realize the possibilities of our own self-worth. We proceed with a different sense of passion and purpose; a bit older, wiser – battered but not broken. Wounded but wiser.

    One of my own works (inspired by the gift of Ms. Shoffstall) after the break up of my marriage of 24 years, I wrote, in part “Snow white is really dead; and Cinderella still sweeps cinders as there is no prince to wed.” My efforts pale in comparison to hers; I am older, wiser, and crippled due to the negligence of another uninsured driver.

    The one love in my life is reading and appreciating the contributions of works by others. There are some questions I would love to ask her, if I could and had an opportunity to:

    You wrote this compelling work at the tender age (to me it seems) of 19. What brought forth such an incredible work. What event or evolution inspired you, so young, to bring forth something from the obvious pain and triumph of your very soul and spirit.

    Have you written any works since then that are published and could be shared. If so, what are the names of the books or works and what is the possibility that an older and wiser crippled lady could obtain an autographed copy. I am a collector and would treasure the possibility of this to add to my extensive collection that will be passed on to friends and family deserving of same.

    Kindest regards, J. Crista Perry

    cristaperry517@yahoo.com

  10. i first read this when i was 19; i was amazed. thought i was mature to understand all the meanings at that young age myself.
    years later, i stumbled on it again, and it hit me so hard that it is so unbelievingly true!
    ‘Life in a nutshell’ i call it :)

  11. it sure is :)

  12. Amazing!
    I cry everytime when I read this poem

  13. THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL POEM I HAVE EVER READ, SO MUCH THAT IT ALMOST HAUNTS ME ( ESP ON THE DARK DAYS OF MY ALMOST 25 YR OLD MARRIAGE)

    THANK YOU VERONICA :)

  14. I’ve been through a 42 year old marriage and now divorced. I thought I had well understood this poem as it was introduced to me in the early 90’s (I think)— and thought of my mother countless times. My mother hd been divorced in the 50’s and lived a life of success, independence, and lonliness. Now that I have the “opportunity to be like my independent mother,” I wonder if I really wish to do the “decorating of my own soul.” In a dysfuntional marriage with a sweet alcoholic, I met another—who perhas wishes to help “decorate my soul.” I never thought soul mates existed! Am I smitten into thinking something stupid. The most recent realtionship has been going on for well over a year—and I’m scared–I wish to be my own stable, independent self—and I’m having a very hard time! Thanks–Gloria

  15. after a while is really an intesting pem hat learn to let go

  16. isn’t this a poem by Jorge Luis Borges???

  17. This poem is absolutely beautiful even in its clear and ever present reality of life as we all know it. This is one of my favorite poems of all time.

  18. I love this poem and have loved it for years, but I just found out that she plagiarized this in the 70s. She just translated it off of Jorge Luis Borges’ “Despues de Tiempo.”

    http://emanix.livejournal.com/25090.html

  19. I just recently read “AFTER A WHILE” from an assosictae, and I feel in LOVE. So much meaning, SO MUCH EVERYTHING!!!! I would love to hear her in person.

  20. http://vimeo.com/36813256

    no comments.. <3

  21. A lovely poem about love. understanding love and knowing that you have to depend on yourself first before letting anyone else into your life. (remember in the airplane when they say: help yourself first with the oxygen mask, before helping your children) Understanding that with every goodbye, with every relationship (love/ friendship…it does not matter what kind of relationship) coming to an end, it is time for you to learn from the mistakes, but also from the good memories of that relationship. saying goodbye leaves you with a choice to learn about yourself, about life and about the choices you make…it thus opens doors for new relationships which you are supposed to do better…you are still allowed to make mistakes, but only new ones…not the ones you have already made.

  22. I thot this poem had to do with bad relationships, abused women, etc. Words of encouragement to/for abused women.

  23. I found an old typewriter copy of this poem but it was named “Comes the Dawn” and there was no author listed. I give creidt to the original author, whomever that is.
    Thank you for the insight and beautiful poem.

  24. I too, found this poem, which was entitled “Comes the Dawn”, at least 25 years ago, as I was getting past a troubled marriage and attempting to move on. It struck a deep chord with me, and it’s wisdom gave me the courage and strength to make a new and better life for myself and 5 children. It has been a mantra ever since, and I have used it as a teaching tool for my children, grandchildren and other young relatives and friends. I don’t think there was an author noted on the copy I saw so long ago, and I’ve always credited “Anonymous”. I hope that whomever authored it knows how many untold people it has encouraged and comforted and taught. It is sound, gentle and strong advice for anyone.

  25. We need to be very patient while doing any work..should never get excessive feeling of any kind. And should try to avoid things which we no would hurt us later…! this is wat I learnd from this poem…

  26. I think it’s dreadful, sentimental rubbish, and to make it worse, for some reason online it’s often attributed to Shakespeare, probably started as a joke to see who be daft enough to believe he could possibly have written it .

  27. [...] ¡no se vayan todavía, que aún hay más! Resulta que también circula una versión en inglés a la que le faltan todos esos evidentes añadidos.  ¿Se trata del origen del hoax? No sería [...]

  28. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your
    sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back in the future. All the best

  29. The poem streches every string of my heart and when it releases it.. it takes away all my sorrows along with it. A comment above mentions the age of the author to b 19. Its commendable to learn that talent can not be barred by anythng. Wonderful work, stay blessed.

  30. I remember the day when i read this poem in our school curricula. i was in 8th grade. 10 year ago. in spite being so young, i could not forget even a line of this poem… and i really understood, every good bye teaches you very much…

  31. What a haunting beautiful poem.

  32. […] After a while – Veronica A. Shoffstall […]

  33. […] After a while – Veronica A. Shoffstall […]

  34. What I think about the controversy over the authorship of the poem After a while (With time … or moments), signed by Veronica – Veronica A. Shoffstall and attributed to J. L. Borges, is that really the poem was written and published by Veronica in 1971 and then, at a later time by Borges translated into Spanish. A stylistic analysis can prove this statement, because the style of Borges has nothing to do with the poem quoted.

  35. My wife, whom is the child of a father who abandoned her at 11 months, raised by alcoholic mom and step-dad, suffered through a divorce at 13, sent this to me this morning. While I cannot not imagine the pain she feels, I cannot give into letting her go on her own. We have 4 kids and 18 years of marriage to just give up for her own independence. Though I know about her 2 affairs over the past 2 1/2 years, I have a Heavenly Father who has forgiven me for my sins, and has taught me to forgive her. Not condone or forget, but to forgive. While we need to be healthy as individuals and as a couple, we need to accept we were not created to be on this earth alone. We need our spouses and friends to help us cope with life. As the poem says, there are no guarantees for the future, but I believe you yoke together and press on and pick each other up.

  36. […] <3 […]

  37. […] – Veronica A. Shoffstall […]

  38. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images
    on this blog loading? I’m trying to determine if its a
    problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly
    appreciated.

  39. Anyone who could think a 19 year old girl would have the life experience to be able to objectively comment on a subject so complex as this, needs to get a clue. Obviously, she is encouraging other women to take the easy way out when relationships become difficult or demand personal sacrifice. Relationships are compromise, but should always be based on love, mutual respect, honesty, and communication. Yes, I agree everyone, especially women, should be strong and independent, while approaching all relationships with cautious optimism, but to not have the courage to make plans for the future is just being cowardly and pathetically affraid. Yes, to live is to take chances, and sometimes those chances don’t turn out the way we might hope, but to not take that chance is to not live at all. This poor girl of 19 sounds like she was in a bad relationship and rather than examine the causes that led to it’s demise, she hides behind the misdirected solice of substituting security for actually being alive.

    secure, but lonely

  40. […] After a while – Veronica A. Shoffstall […]

  41. Reblogged this on Neşe Rüzgarı and commented:
    Bu şiir için içimde bir minnettarlık levhası asılı, keşke “İyi ki varsın!” demenin içinde teşekkür geçmeyen bir halini bulsam …

  42. http://nofilmschool.com/2012/05/the-division-of-gravity-short-film/

  43. http://nofilmschool.com/2012/05/the-division-of-gravity-short-film/

    best video/poem montage together, ever.

  44. .kindly recast on “too uncertain . . . .brings you flowers” i dont get the point please :)

  45. Thamks fοr tɦe auspicious writeup. Ιt actually սsed tο bе a leisure account
    it. ʟоok complex to far delivered agreeable from you! However,
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  46. I first read this poem around 1985, the year my husband died. Amazingly, it helped me through a very rough time in my life, and I soon fell in love with a man, who also has since left me, and I rediscovered this poem again, read it all the time, and have come to know it by heart. I love the message it gives me, and the strength I have gotten from reading it over and over.
    I will never forget it…
    Gloria


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