Present Tense

About four years ago, I opened a card from my mother to find a laminated bookmark with this poem. To this day, it has been my bookmark of choice. The poem was written by 14-year-old Jason Lehman many years ago. The poem was sent to Abigail Van Buren, who, after verifying that the poet was indeed a teenager wise beyond his years, published it in her February 14, 1989 "Dear Abby" column.

Present Tense

It was spring, but it was summer I wanted, The warm days, and the great outdoors. It was summer, but it was fall I wanted, The colorful leaves, and the cool, dry air. It was fall, but it was winter I wanted, The beautiful snow, and the joy of the holiday season. It was winter, but it was spring I wanted, The warmth and the blossoming of nature. I was a child, but it was adulthood I wanted, The freedom and respect. I was 20, but it was 30 I wanted, To be mature, and sophisticated. I was middle-aged, but it was 20 I wanted, The youth and the free spirit. I was retired, but it was middle-age I wanted, The presence of mind without limitations. My life was over, and I never got what I wanted.

To get what we want, we must want what we have, when we have it. To appreciate what we have, we must be present and in the moment. We must be aware, and awareness requires the practice of quietness and meditation. We must be able to slow down to see what is before us. Our attention cannot be off in the future or lost in the past. To get what we want, we must be fully present in the here and now.

Bryan Clifton

Oklahoma City, OK