INSPIRATIONAL POEMS

AND 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 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 A WOMAN OR A MAN

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 FORTUNES HAVE A WAY OF FALLING DOWN

IN MID-FLIGHT.

AFTER A WHILE YOU LEARN

THAT EVEN SUNSHINE BURNS IF YOU ASK 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 FAILURE

YOU LEARN.

© 1971 Veronica A. Shoffstall

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice -

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles

"Mend my life!"

each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundation,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do -

determined to save

the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

The Invitation

It doesnt interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know what you ache for.

And if you dare to dream of meeting your hearts longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.

I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love.

For your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your Moon.

I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow.

If you have been opened by lifes betrayals or

Have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain!

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own.

Without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own,

If you can dance with the wilderness and let ecstasy fill you

To the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful,

Be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling is true.

I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal

And not betray your soul.

I want to know if you can be faithful

And therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty

Even when it is not pretty everyday.

And if you can source your life from Gods presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine.

And still stand on the edge of a lake

And shout to the silver of the full moon, Yes!

It doesn't interest me to know where you live

Or how much you have.

I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair,

Weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn't interest me who you are, how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.

I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else fades away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,

And if you truly like the company you keep in empty moments.

by Oriah Mountain dreamer (Native American Elder)

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