Hardship and Destiny

to the Class of 2021

The time is now at hand; the bow is bent
To shoot you forth across the open sky.
And as you think on what these years have meant,
You may know where you wish to land, and why.
Or else you may believe you hold the bow;
An arrow cannot aim itself for flight.
You’ve chosen paths to take; I hope you know
Their ends are far beyond our power of sight.
Some days, the way before you will seem bleak;
Pursuit of happiness is arduous.
Persist—and you will find the joy you seek.
Please don’t forget to send some back to us.
__We’ll miss you so much more than we can tell,
__But we are proud to bid you all farewell.



Benjamin Daniel Lukey lives in Monroe, North Carolina.  He teaches high school English classes whenever he is not fishing or writing poetry.  His work has previously appeared in Adelaide Literary Magazine, The Road Not Taken, and other publications. Please visit hellopoetry.com/bdlukey to read more.

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6 Responses

  1. Margaret Coats

    Every line here is sharp as a well-chosen (or perhaps I should say, well-crafted) arrow. I particularly like “an arrow cannot aim itself for flight” and the echo of the Declaration of Independence in line 10. This poem surpasses your fine valediction to the class of 2018, also published here at SCP.

  2. Julian D. Woodruff

    A seemingly effortless example of poetic control and rhetorical skill–at once eloquent and plain-spoken. Thanks.

  3. Paul Freeman

    First time I’ve read a poem on this topic. I enjoyed it enormously. It hit all the right buttons and to my ear is faultless.

  4. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Benjamin, this admirably crafted, smooth, conversational sonnet is packed with wise advice and a heartful of love and care. The closing couplet is beautiful and brought a tear to my eye – the sign of an excellent poem. Thank you!

  5. David Watt

    I believe your sonnet will enjoy a life well beyond the Class of 2021.
    I can see it being picked up for many graduations yet to come.


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