Have/Have Not

Within me is a breath. I still live.

My youth has escaped me. I now age.

Years of wisdom collect. I’m wiser.

Small memories escape. I forget.

I gain knowledge daily. I know more.

I gain knowledge daily. I know little.

What remains I embrace. I have much.

What I have lost is gone. I’ve lost much.



About John White

I've written off and on my entire life. It took years for me to finally take putting words together seriously. Now it's not, nor does it ever feel, like work. Writing daily has become habitual. No day is complete without words having appeared on the page.

Posted on March 3, 2015, in Poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 49 Comments.

  1. Wonderful poem; well done. 🙂

  2. The cycle of life I know it well,be kind to yourself John,it’s only down hill from here on out

  3. A beautifully written tribute to aging. We can age gracefully right?

  4. True writers aren’t afraid to write about their own vulnerabilities or observations of another’s situation. You are titanium!!!! Your writings are always pure and clear, which is rare in poetry, great piece 💯👏

  5. Beautiful poem, John. 😀

  6. Chris Crawford

    Simplicity of writing in its finest form.

  7. The older I get, the more I learn how much I have to learn. Well done:)

  8. Ahhhh…the paradox of aging. As we decay, we grow. And just as we’re remotely equipped to handle this life, we depart from it. Go figure. Beautiful poem!!!

    • Thank you, Heather. It is odd how we gain knowledge and wisdom but our bodies decide along the way that we aren’t equipped to completely put what we’ve gained to use. 🙂

  9. This is beautiful! 🙂

  10. Beautiful! Love this. 😉

  11. Thank you for “liking” my recent post.

  12. What remains I embrace; What I have lost is gone. Nice piece. A pleasure to meet great poets your like.

  13. Sad, but true. We change, evolve, and rearrange our thoughts every day, every hour, every minute…each new pattern is for a reason and we learn new things again.

  14. Wow, I love your poetry! I am new at this and appreciate being able to read the work of great writers like you! Some times I read other’s work and think Ha, I could have written that and then I read writers like you and think, on crap, I can’t write! Thank you for sharing your talent, it is an inspiration.

    • Thank you so much! You’ve made my day. However, if you want to write, have the desire to write and stay true to who you are when you write, then you’ll write well. I’ve never felt the phrase “aspiring poet” held any water. If you write poetry, you’re a poet especially if you’re passionate about it. The best advice I ever got came on a whim. I emailed Joseph Bathanti, the NC (my homestate) poet laureate, and asked for some direction. He told me to read voraciously and write daily. At first, I felt he took the easy way out in order to get me out of his hair but it’s turned out to be the best writing advice I ever got. Reading any and all writers, all forms will inspire you while writing daily will make writing habitual. You won’t be able to stop and your creative side will come alive like never before. Stick with it. We’re all just who we are, what we are but all of us are also improving provided we put in the time and effort. Best of luck. It’s great to meet you!

      • Thanks so much for your advice and encouragement! I look forward to continuing to read your work and hope you read some of mine, any comments would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again for taking the time to read my stuff and writing to me!!

        • You’re welcome of course. Keep at it and keep writing. Don’t take no for an answer. If you have things to say and can’t wait to commit them to paper then you’re a writer. I look forward to reading more of your work.

  15. I enjoyed the form in this immensely. You always do great work!

  16. As our good ol’ pal Socrates used to say: true wisdom begins when we realized we don’t really know…

  17. I really like the way you coupled lines for juxtaposition throughout the poem! I do think the title could be stronger though, just because I’m now sure how well it connects with the content. The poem made me think of perspective. Just a thought!

  18. John, that’s a wonderful piece!
    I would say, if one lives, one always gain more than one loses, simply by the experience of living…

    • Thank you, Kunal. I agree we learn so much just by living and paying attention to everything around us. It’s all worth it in the end. It’s great to meet you!

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