Now to explain the title of this post. Anyone (particularly those of a certain older age) who moves from one location to another knows the work and stress it takes to get to that new stage in your life. In our attempt to downsize, we go through boxes that have been stored in the basement or on closet shelves; we sort through things we'd like to keep, items we can donate to charity and some things that simply need to be tossed onto the garbage heap. I did this recently (moving from Chicago to Memphis due to my husband's new job) and found a scrapbook that I put together as a teenager. On one of the pages was a poem that I'd cut and pasted from some publication. I think it resonates with most women, regardless of age, because the words can apply to various stages of life.
Titled Comes the Dawn, the poem's author was listed as Unknown on my scrapbook page. After searching online, I found that the work has been attributed to three authors: Veronica A. Shoffstall (with a different title, After a While), Judith Evans, and Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina, 1899-1986). I have no idea who really wrote it, but it seems the popular consensus is Shoffstall, who gave a copyright date of 1971 to the poem.
I'd like to share the words here. To the author of this lovely piece: thank you for the simple, beautiful words to Comes the Dawn (After a While).
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 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...
That you really are strong,
And you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn...
With every goodbye you learn.