Adeline Foster (Instructor of poetry, Hagerstown, MD)
Pleasure is learned from adversity
And joy from the knowledge of pain.
‘Tis troubles we have that help us to see
The value we have in a friend.
Life is so full of uncertainty
With disloyal friends and machines,
But a true friend is there when we need him to be,
When life comes apart at the seams.
I stood on the brink of a world in distress
And looked o’er the selfish abyss,
And knew there were many men willing to take
And few there were willing to give.
I determined to shape a world of my own
And ask not a quarter of them;
I’d give to the world from all that I’d sown
No matter how meager the stem.
I purchased my bliss with gifts of my hand.
I loaned with no interest required.
I covered my gifts as if buried in sand
And told not when I became tired.
I gave and, in giving, a pleasure derived,
Nor did I permit a return.
I blamed them for what I had others denied,
And indulged them no pleasure to earn.
The pleasures I’d learned from adversity
I protected from those that I loved.
The troubles I’ve seen I allowed none to see,
Thus allowing no friendship be proved.
Like others, I’ve endured calamity,
Yet I must continue to give.
Belated, I’ve learned that humility
Must also know how to receive.
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