Posted by: aboutalbion | July 22, 2012


This well-known poem has many forms … and many endings.  This is the version that I was given at a time of transition in my life.


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 an adult, not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for your plans.

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 will learn that you really can endure…
that you really are special …
and that you really do have worth.

So live to learn and know yourself.

In doing so, you will learn to live.

[I believe this is a translation of the first portion of a longer poem in Spanish by Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986).]


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