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…

Published in: on May 6, 2007 at 12:14 pm  Comments (87)  

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87 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😀

    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. no comments..❤

  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. […]❤ […]

  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,
    how caո ѡе keep in touch?

  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

  47. Planting my garden now❤

  48. The original poem was written by Argentine poet Jorge Luis Borges. Someone translated it to English and claimed it as their own. Someone else changed a few words and claimed it as their own work.
    The original poem is called Despues de un Tiempo. It’s easy enough to investigate.

  49. I read this poem at my husband’s funeral and would like to include it in a book I am writing. To do so I am told I need written permission from the Author, which is in question. Can someone help me obtain written persmisson

  50. Oops, typo error above, sorry

  51. Reblogged this on foreverdreamingoflove and commented:
    Just Wow!

  52. Reblogged this on Little Anna B (Anna Bianca).

  53. Reblogged this on teamchildrenbabymassage.

  54. Reblogged this on Strange Encounters and commented:
    One of my favorite poems of all times. Just remembering it now that I have a new boyfriend and trying to trust him with all my heart, but been down too many roads that lead to heartbreak and pains me to realize in subtle ways I’m broken.

  55. Hello, Does anybody know where I can get a bio. of Veronica A. Shoffstall? I have been trying to contact her directly by email but every email I find comes back “undeliverable.” What does she look like anyway? My name is Virginia Rodriguez and I am the author of Comes the Dawn. My poem was never titled After Awhile nor were the words Comes the Dawn ever part of the verse, as Veronica stated to someone who questioned the title. I have my original copy still attached in my Mead Composition notebook with edit marks because it was still a work in progress. I am 59 years old and live in Tooele, Utah. I have written a letter to Veronica and would like to send it to her personally. The letter tells the story of how she may have come across my poem. I believe in truth and wonder if she does. Truth to her readers.

  56. It’s nearly 7:00 p.m. here in the States. Didn’t think about the time difference.

  57. Hello again. Still trying to find a legitimate email address for Veronica A. Shoffstall, and a picture of her. virginiarod77@gmail.com or virginiarod77.wordpress.com

  58. You mean by “JORGE LUIS BORGES”.
    Theft. Shame on Veronica A. Shoffstall

  59. No. I wrote the poem, Comes The Dawn. I don’t know enough Spanish to have translated from Jorge Luis Borges, nor have I read his poem. I found Veronica A. Shoffstall on facebook and informed her who I was, I asked to befriend her on facebook so we could chat and she has not excepted my request, nor will she respond in any other manner, I have given her my personal cell number. To those who are interested I plan to post the original poem on virginiarod77.wordpress.com or on facebook, Virginia Rodriguez (Bimbe) nickname. As I say to Veronica, I believe in Truth To My Readers, Do you?

  60. I have also written Ms. Shoffstall a letter that will be posted. If you type her name on face book you will find a letter she has written to defend her authorship of Comes the Dawn some time back, though she changed the title to After A While, after she claimed to be the author and the poem was already out as Comes The Dawn as that is my original title. She tells the story right there as to how she came to claim the poem. You will need to scroll almost to the bottom of the page. You can do this without being a face book friend.

  61. Update: Ms. Shoffstall blocked me from her face book page. No reply as of date.

  62. I’d been looking as to who wrote this poem after I found a very old copy all yellow and tattered which appears to have been typed on a typewriter.. It was titled “Comes The Dawn”. I like the poem very much, and I am pleased to have found it on your page.

  63. Hello Brianna Marie,

    I am very humbled at the likes of my poem by you and many others. Comes The Dawn was written at a time of a pending divorce due to domestic violence, which eventually happened. Why Veronica A. Shoffstall continues to claim authorship is difficult for me to understand. I don’t know why a writer would want to steal a works which is not their own. The word steal is harsh, however it is what it is. As I wrote to Ms. Shoffstall, “life is not easy,it takes a lot of hard work and honesty. I believe in truth to my readers do you?”

    None of this has anything to do with money, but only the truth.

    If you are interested in reading more of my poems I recently started a blog on wordpress, virginiarodriguez.77@wordpress.com and plan to post the original writing of Comes The Dawn, with edit marks included as it was actually a work in progress, along with a letter I wrote to Ms. Shoffstall, with no response. I am fairly new at the blogging scene and am not to good at it but will post as soon as I figure out how to attach.

  64. Hello, thank you for liking my poem, yes the original title is Comes the Dawn, and I am the true author, not Veronica Shoffstall. I have asked her to contact me to no avail. I even gave her my phone number on Facebook, however she refused my friend request. This poem was written from a marriage of abuse and my heart felt defeat of a second divorce. My name is Virginia Rodriguez and I’m from Tooele , Utah.

  65. Is this woman claiming she wrote this in 2007?

  66. Virginia when did you write it? Because I know for a fact she didn’t in 2007. I found it in my sons notebook, after one of his suicide attempts. I never knew if he wrote it or copied it, I assumed he had because it was in his notebook where he wrote his own poetry. A notebook I still have, and is from back far longer than 2007. So regardless to who wrote it, the notebook proves it was written long before the 2007 date when she published it. His notebook does contains dates. SO if you are the true author, and not my son I just may have the evidence needed.

  67. Hello Myra,
    I hope your son found hope with Comes The Dawn. I first learned my poem was out there on October 13 ,2003, however I had attended a writer’s conference in Taos, New Mexico in 2002 and had the poem in my book bag at that time but am certain I had written it late 90s. I have to be honest I didn’t date the page. Also my original has always been Comes The Dawn and not After A While as Ms. Shoffstall changed the title. She tries to defend authorship by writing on her Facebook page that her mother read Ann Landers column asking if the author of Comes The Dawn to come forward, as it was out there as author unknown so she claimed the poem as her own. There has been an on going controversy as to who the true author is, and believe me I believe in truth to my readers and would never steal another writers work. Plus readers know a writer’s voice and those who know her know Comes The Dawn is not her voice. She posted something to the fact that she would have never titled it that and she doesn’t know how it got that name.

  68. Hello again Myra, my post showed me as anonymous. It’s Virginia Rodriguez replying to your post.,

  69. Virginia- you say you wrote it in the 90’s? Hasn’t it been published long before that? I thought it was sent to Dear Abby in the ’70’s but perhaps that source purposely wanted to add to the mystery.
    Many people believe it was written by Jorge Borges because of a mashup someone made of this poem plus a lot of lines added to it. The man was much more talented than what the hoaxer wrote. People believe anything on the internet. Many people laughably believe it’s Shakespeare but they’re people who aren’t familiar with his work. I’m following the breadcrumbs, it’s going to bother me until I learn definitably who the author is:-)

  70. I mean definitively ;-P

  71. Yeah it was ’96, not ’71.the Dear Abby letter.

  72. How did you verify that it was ’96, and not ’71? The Dear Abby Letter. I had written to the publisher of Dear Abby, with no response.
    Keep following the breadcrumbs! Thanks, Virginia

  73. Hi Virginia,
    I’m sorry but I’ve already forgotten, lol. I suppose I could go thru my history if my automatic cleaner app hasn’t deleted it yet. (I’m using my android phone) I’m always finding interesting things to read about online:-) It can get so frustrating sometimes with people mistakenly quoting lies and mistakes. I do it, too. You wouldn’t believe how many people are convinced it’s Shakespeare that wrote the poem and it’s so hard to convince them they’re mistaken because they’ve found so many sources saying otherwise. They speak with authority, unbelievable- because they don’t even know his style. It’s comical but it’s actually a sad commentary on — oh, gullibility, mistaken faith in the infallibility of the internet, people being too lazy to want to check their sources, too embarrassed to admit they’re wrong. But I’m an old fogie I think though, lol- I’m embarrassed when I make a mistake. (I have a little bit of pride left lol:-)
    Ok, thank you for the comment, goodnight
    >^-.-^<

  74. This is a Jorge Luis Borges Quote

  75. I love love love this poem. My mother put it on a card to me after a terrible breakup. I really touched my heart and put me on the right track. Not sure exactly what the background of this poem is but my mom interpreted it as a perfect gift after a heartbreak.

  76. My college roommate broke up with her boyfriend and went to her room and wrote this poem. I have the original typewritten copy that dates from 1966. Lynn was very talented and all her poems were powerful. The author who claims she wrote it in 1971 is to be questioned.
    Now I’m on a quest..

  77. Wow. I cannot believe the controversy. I wrote it in 1984 when I was 17. The origional is in my lock box. Veronica has been confronted in 2004 about it and I forgave her. Her efforts and her version made it possible for peole to be blessed by it. If it was up to me, it would be in my lockbox along with my other poetry. The origional version can be viewed in Chicken Soup For Your Soul 2nd Ed. But I only gave one copy away to the young man who hurt me so I really do not know how it got out. I am just sooooo pleased it has helped so many people. Honestly, like my other poems, I believe God gave me the words so He is the author. God Bless you all. Believe Jesus and you will one day learn….Truth!.

  78. These words make me feel comforted.

  79. I’m beyond fascinated by this! I have had this poem on a plastic Hallmark plaque since 1985 (as u can see in the lower right corner but I can’t paste the pic here) and it still sits on my desk at work. After the death of my husband at only 39 from a 10 year battle with cancer in 1994 I learned that he carried the same poem with him in his wallet to give him strength to fight his battle, never knowing that at work everyday it was strengthening me at the same time. So we know it can’t have been written in the late 90’s and here I join in the search to unravel the mystery in the pursuit of thanking the author who offered so many the strength to endure and carry on. I will b happy to forward the pic if u email me @ millsgordon@live.com.

  80. Why would you forgive Veronica A. Shoffstall or anybody else for stealing your work. It’s about truth. I have no reason to deceive my audience nor would it ever cross my mind. Morals are what matter here, and if an author thinks it’s okay to claim another authors work as their own…I find that offensive and disrespectful to all writers. Where is the glory in claiming that which is not yours? Apparently Veronica Shoffstall doesn’t want to face the truth, I have tried numerous ways to make contact with her and she refuses to acknowledge me. Blocked me on her face book page when I introduced myself as the true author of Comes The Dawn. The poem was never titled After A While. When she first claimed to be the author it was Comes The Dawn then she later referenced that, that was a title it just picked up a long the way because she would have never given it such a “flatulent” title. Not true, that is the title I gave it and my original hand written copy shows this. For those who place Comes The Dawn in the same category as Jorge Luis Borges or even Shakespeare, what an honor!

  81. I remember this any chance you know where the real writer is

  82. I heard that saying before you know who’s the original writer of this isI

  83. I guess we will never know the true Authour I guess he / she ‘s dead know ,, many thanks to him /her :):)

  84. Hello, My name is Virginia Rodriguez. I’m from Tooele, Utah and I am the true author of Comes The Dawn, aka After A While. I have posted a copy of my original hand written copy on my face book page. I also have tried to no avail to contact Veronica A. Shoffstall who claims to be the author. I requested to be her friend on her face book page; however when I introduced myself as the true author of Comes the Dawn, she blocked me. I have also written her a letter but don’t know where to send it. At the end of my correspondence to her I write, “I believe in truth to my readers, do you”?

    I will soon be 60 and know Ms. Shoffstall is just a bit older. I’m not on this blog to convince anybody as to who I am. I know who I am and want nothing more than to let my readers know the truth. Each time I read a comment by someone thanking Ms. Shoffstall and pouring their hearts out to her, it makes me sad. The thought of how she continues to deceive her fans.

    I was raised in a single parent home by my mother and 10 siblings, with a high moral standard for telling the truth. To tell you a little bit about myself, I have three sons and 16 grandchildren. I am a runner and a writer. I have run 7 marathons, currently training for my 8th,(with hopes to qualify for Boston.) In my letter to Ms. Shoffstall I actually compare her to the infamous Rosie Ruiz who cheated and claimed to be the winner in the female category for the 84th Boston Marathon in 1980, only to have her title stripped eight days later when it was discovered that she had not run the entire course. Just like Ms. Shoffstall, she did not run the entire course.

    My poem Feathers took 1st Place in the first Latino/a Poetry Art Contest at the Kimball Arts Center in Park City, Utah in 2005. You can see my original copy Of Comes the Dawn on my face book page. Ms. Shoffstall went to great lengths to change the title even after claiming it as Comes the Dawn. That is where the confusion takes place leaving readers to ask the question, “where did the title Comes the Dawn come from”? You will also see my edit marks as it was still a work in progress. I have been contacted by a publisher/author in New York City who is interested in my story. How ironic, Ms. Shoffstall is from New York. Or is it?

    Virginia Rodriguez

  85. I wish someone would straighten this out. This poem helped me so much and never left my memory as I said it over and over so I would stop crying and obsessing. I like to reprint it on a photograph . Perhaps sell it, but mostly leave it for another broken heart.

  86. This is exactly what I mean. This so called controversy has been going on way too long. Because I am the true author, I feel an obligation to my readers. This is what I say to Ms. Shoffstall in the letter I have written her, “after all these years I decided to let it be but those who know me well know the warrior gene I possess for justice so with that I feel I owe it to your readers who deserve the truth. If there were not an once of suspicion, (as to who the true author is) the chat lines of doubt would not exist.”

    I am truly honored that Comes The Dawn has made a positive difference in so many lives and especially yours. The words came from my broken heart, but also from my conscious decision to begin to understand that I am responsible for my own happiness. It is not another human beings obligation to make me happy. When life gets hurtful you find the positive, even if it means digging.

    Virginia Rodriguez


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