Instructions on Not Giving Up (Poem by Ada Limon with Photos)

Instructions on Not Giving Up (Poem by Ada Limon with Photos)

How to Not Give Up poem

Instructions on Not Giving Up

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

by Ada Limón

(Photos: Our weeping cherry tree, which goes from pink to white, and the red magnolia across the street)













I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. John+gregory 2 years ago


  2. Joyce Alluan Ades 2 years ago

    Polly, thanks for “amplifying good”. That’s what you really do!

    • Author
      Polly Castor 2 years ago

      That’s the intention anyway!

  3. Andrew 2 years ago

    Lovely poem. Btw, I’ve been memorizing poems I love lately and making them part of myself. Really taking them in.

    • Author
      Polly Castor 2 years ago


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