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All I Have is . . . .

Updated: Jun 24

Here is a poem which I wrote several years ago in response to the

dilemma of a student in my English class. Following it is the back story:

When the problems and the pressures

start piling up on me....

When the laments and the laundry

get so high that I can’t see....

When the hungries and the hassles

invade my liberty....

It’s then I must remember

that all I have is me.

A husband may pack up or die;

the kids will grow up soon;

but for my own survival

I always must make room.

My body and my mind

should be pampered faithfully,

because when all is said and done,

all I have is me.

I was teaching English in night school from 7-10 pm. At break time of the first class a young girl came up to me and confessed she was worried that she would not pass because she had been out of school for so long. I reassured Wanda that it was too early to make that judgment. Here is her tale.

When she finished tenth grade, she and her new boyfriend fell deeply in love and wanted to get married. Both sets of parents opposed it due to their age, but the kids were adamant. They got married and, of course, Wanda quit school. Five years and five babies later, he decided he did not want to be married anymore; he took the keys to the car and and the few dollars they had stashed away, and he left. She was devastated. She had five kids, no money, no car, no skills, and a tenth grade education.

Her parents were not wealthy but agreed to help her with the kids and some money if she would return to school. That's how she turned up, self esteem and confidence very low, in my class. I told her I would think about it and make some suggestions the next session. The class met on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and this was Tuesday night. By Thursday, I had written this poem and gave it to her, hoping to bolster her faith in the only resource she had for sure; I gave her my phone number and invited her to call me if she ever needed to talk. She remained in my class and did very well.

Fast forward four years. I got a phone call. It was Wanda, letting me know she had completed high school at night, learned some computer skills, and was prepared to go on with her life. She told me she had kept the poem and often referred to it for motivation.

MORAL: you never know how much good your poetry can do. In addition to wanting to help Wanda, I also had fun with this poem by using alliteration and a simple AB CB DB EB rhyme scheme in the first stanza. The second stanza has a less structured rhyme scheme, but repeats the theme of "all I have is me," implying that "me" is enough. Happily, in Wanda's case, it was enough.

If you like this poem and would like to read some others, they can be found in Strands of Rhyme: Poems from the Real World. Return to my website for instructions on how to buy it. Have you ever shared a piece of poetry and enjoyed the results it brought? Perhaps a love poem? I'd love to hear about it. #poetrycommunity #poetrypower #poetryworld #poetrywriters #poetrylovers #poems #WritersLift #writingcommunity

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