Two Graduation Poems

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the worlds needs is people who have come alive” -Howard Thurman

I wrote these two graduation poems in light of another year that has passed. The first one is for my sister, who graduated from middle school and will be going to high school next year. Her freshman year will be my senior year! *sniff.* She loves surfing and wants to go pro when she gets older. This poem is not just about what I learned about surfing too, but about what I learned about life (so far) that I want to teach her (even if I know she’ll be better at surfing than me!)

(And life)

1. Firstly,
Get your bearings
Make sure you know where you are.
Shore behind, sea ahead
And above the twinkling stars.

2. Next,
Watch the waves
The way they curl, the way they rise
Find out which ones are dangerous
For not all of them are nice.

3. Now
Do not hesitate!
You might not get another chance.
Paddle hard, dive in deep
Join the water’s dance.

4. Sometimes a wave will tell you
Just where it wants to go
If it feels right, then follow it–
Like they say, ‘go with the flow’!

5. Remember–
You do not own the sea.
You’re merely hitching a ride.
Treat her with respect and she
Will always take your side.

6. If you end up
In the deep end
Or in the impact zone
Paddle harder or reach for help–
Remember you’re not alone.

7. Wipeouts
Yeah, they hurt like hell
But the waves wash pain away.
Now what REALLY matters
Is how you face another day.

8. Keep your feet firm on the board
But learn to glide and bend.
Be strong but calm and flexible
Take a wise man’s advice–
‘Be water, my friend’!

9. And never
Forget from which shore you came
Though you may land on others
They will never be the same.

10. You know what–
Forget what I’ve said here
You’ll learn this all in good time.
Just grab your board and get in there
And remember it’ll be just fine.

The sea is rough and scary
And life is not a joke.
But even the smallest surfers can ride a tsunami
All you need is a little–


The second poem is for the graduating class of 2013. This class has always been a bunch of supportive friends to me and my own classmates and to see them graduate was really a bittersweet experience because even though we’ll miss them, we know they’ve got what it takes to face life–real life–outside school. Congratulations Batch 2013! You rule 🙂 And always remember, Kairos, not Chronos!

They were there before we came.

They always have been.

I grew up thinking,

They always will be.


But nothing stays the same.

And now they’re saying goodbye.

And I

and I

and we

are saying goodbye too.


What’s going to happen now

Without the ones who always knew what to do?

The ones who led the way

And merely let us follow?


I can’t

I can’t imagine

what it would be like to take the lead

take the head of the procession into the future


without them joining us,

guiding us

their laughter and heckling

pats on the back, hugs, shoulders to lean on

listening ears,

kindred spirits


writers and singers and artists and athletes and visionaries and dancers whose movements echoed the rapid grace of lightning

Friends who always knew what you were up to, what you were going through

Or who bothered to find out

The ones who gave us direction and connection—


I can’t



Another year




But I promise

To look out for those who come after

As they had looked out for us

Welcome them the way

We’ve been welcomed


We’re waving goodbye even if we don’t want to.

And their horizon beckons

As we wish them good luck.


Missing them,

Proud of them,

Sticking it out until we too

Earn our horizon.




You only live once


Time to try something different! What do you think of the new blog theme? 😉


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