by Jorge Luis Borges

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 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 good-bye you learn.

About Thomas J. Hubschman

Thomas J. Hubschman is the author of Look at Me Now, My Bess, Song of the Mockingbird, Billy Boy, Father Walther’s Temptation, The Jew’s Wife & Other Stories and three science fiction novels. His work has appeared in New York Press, The Antigonish Review, Eclectica, The Blue Moon Review and many other publications. Two of his short stories were broadcast on the BBC World Service.

Posted on May 15, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I’m putting this on my bulletin board. And that’s the biggest compliment I can give it.

    I wonder if I could have understood even ten years ago. You learn. The shock is discovering how after 70 years there is still so much to learn.


  2. Somebody, nobody famous I think, said you don’t know anything till you’re fifty. I think we could add, you don’t know what you do know till you’re seventy, or something like that. Or maybe, you don’t know what’s worth knowing till then. Anyway, you said it about as well as it could be.

  3. I have only recently gotten interested in Borges. Someone who doesn’t fear to answer the question, ‘How does your garden grow?’ I enjoyed this poem and will re-read. Thanks for posting.

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