Life's Like a Box of Chocolates - Oh, By the Way - It's Not! - LetterPile - Writing and Literature
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Life's Like a Box of Chocolates - Oh, By the Way - It's Not!

John has been writing poetry since his school days. He was awarded "Poet of the Year 2014" Hubby Awards and has had two poems become songs.

Life's Like a Box of Chocolates - Oh, By the Way - It's Not!

We strive in life to do our best,
Use the lessons we’ve been taught
To hopefully tell right from wrong
And process complex thought.

Our parents set the basis
For their daughters and their sons.
They shape how we will view the world,
And the people we’ll become.

We are information sponges
Absorbing all we see and hear
From our teachers, Internet, TV,
But most of all, our peers.

This information overload
Soon causes us to question
Everything we learn before,
And changes our perception.

The things our parents held so dear
And fed to us as fact
We may begin to see as flawed,
And the objectivity they lacked.

As teens we are invincible
And rebel against the norm.
We create our own identity.
We are the perfect storm.

The older generations
Are living in the past,
Their opinions are not relevant,
So all advice aside we cast.

Mom and dad don’t pay our bills
And keep the housework done.
How we miss those home-cooked meals
And times of family fun.

Now we’re independent
And in charge of our own life,
At least until we marry
And become a man and wife.

Each decision that we make
Has importance none the less.
There are two likely outcomes,
Called “failure” or “success.”

When we finish school and college
And must face the world alone,
Reality comes crashing down.
It was easier at home!

So, swallow all your humble pie,
Get that ego back in check.
Ask your parents for advice,
They’ve been there “what the heck!”

Process all you learned at school,
Then add a pinch of salt.
Life’s like a box of chocolates -
Oh, by the way - it’s not!

© 2019 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on June 30, 2019:

Thank you Maurice. I appreciate your comment.

Maurice Glaude from Mobile, AL on June 28, 2019:

I love the name humble pie.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 06, 2019:

Thank you for reading another of my poems Li-Jen. I am glad that the philosophy expressed was clear for you.

Li-Jen Hew on April 06, 2019:

Hey Jodah, your message is clear in that life is not a box of chocolates! Enjoyed the philosophy in the poem and the poem itself. Thanks for sharing.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on April 06, 2019:

Haha, sorry about ruining the Forrest Gump quote, Lawrence. I am glad you liked the poem though. Cheers.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on April 05, 2019:

John

This was a great poem, but it ruined my favourite quote from 'Forrest Gump'

'Life is like a box of chocolates,

You never know what you're going to get'

Enjoyed the poem though.

Lawrence

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 16, 2019:

Hey Alyssa, i always appreciate you reading and commenting on my poetry. So glad you enjoyed and could relate as well. Have a great day.

Alyssa from Ohio on March 16, 2019:

This is fabulous! Truth abounds in your words, describing each stage of life. We have so much to learn from our elders, but at the end of the day, you have to take most advice with a grain of salt. "Life is like a box of chocolates -- Oh, by the way it's not." Couldn't agree more. You get what you work for, what you put out into the world.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 11, 2019:

Yes it does, Dana, and the world keeps turning.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on March 11, 2019:

And, it happens with every generation.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 11, 2019:

Thank you, Devika. I appreciate your comment.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 11, 2019:

Your words are direct and true. It is never easy when kids decide to go on their own especially if they have always had it easy. Great words!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 10, 2019:

Thanks for reading, MsDora, I can relate to this through my own children growing up. I had a couple of sons return home to live more than once.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 10, 2019:

Relatable back then as well as now. I think that each generation comes to the same conclusion. "It was easier at home." Your poem speaks for and to many.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 09, 2019:

Thank you for the generous comment Md. We need to keep triggering those thought processes. Take care.

Velcro on March 09, 2019:

Thank you Jodah, You always trigger my mind by your thought provoking and beautiful works.....

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 09, 2019:

Thank you for reading this Linda. I find the best way to get a message across is usually to "add a pinch" of humour to stop it appearing like a lecture.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 09, 2019:

You've raised some great points in this poem, John. The last two lines are amusing and serious at the same time.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 08, 2019:

Eric, many songwriters are great poets but they know the way to make it bring the dollars. I have had a couple of poems made into songs and recorded. One will be released in an album and single later this year.

Glad to hear that your "youngest elder daughter" writes children's stories. Tell her to publish them...that is my biggest regret, I write for others as a ghostwriter and haven't published any myself.

I'd be interesting to see were tonight's writing leads you and Gabe.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on March 08, 2019:

John tonight we write. After your tutelage we shall see. My elder son writes poetry but mainly in song composition. I reckon somehow they have it in them. I do not teach so much but encourage. My youngest elder daughter writes for children stories. Not published but practiced.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 08, 2019:

Lora, both quotes by your mother and George Bernard Shaw are spot on. You actually described the message of my poem very well in your comment. Thank you for relating to and enjoying my words.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 08, 2019:

Eric, having a child or young person say they want to read my poems is the ultimate compliment. That is, after all, my main purpose in writing poetry. I want to write the type of poetry that helps make it popular again with the young, and resurrect rhyme. All the academic and scientific areas of study are important but sometimes you need something like poetry to just be able to sit and enjoy without having to tax your mind too much...and some poetry actually contains a lesson and teaches you in the process. No, I can’t imagine poetry no longer being taught in school.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 08, 2019:

Haha Shauna. I wish I had written it earlier and tattooed it on my children’s heads too. I have been through it all...hey, I still have grandkids! Thanks for your great comment. So glad you love the poem.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 08, 2019:

Here’s to being wise and drunk on life, Elijah!

Lora Hollings on March 08, 2019:

Boy, Jodah, how this poem rings true! I think George Bernard Shaw was so right when he said, “youth is wasted on the young.” And my mother who used to quote, “too soon old, too late smart.”

I really like these lines in your poem, "So, swallow all your humble pie, Get that ego back in check.”

Yes,"life is a long lesson in humility.” We must learn to accept the advice of others who’ve been through it all before and care most about us…perhaps they really can illuminate our lives with their wisdom. And help us better navigate a life's path that isn’t readily discernible. I really enjoyed this poem- your use of rhyme to make your points and its message. It is always better to go through life with our minds and hearts open rather than closed!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on March 08, 2019:

"I want to read Johns poem" This is love. Laying down art is love. Zoology and Botany, Meteorology and Poetry are our current areas of study. Perhaps we need Poetry that comes before the words of understanding.

(Can you imagine they do not teach poetry in school?)

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on March 08, 2019:

John, I need to tattoo this on my son's forehead. He thinks the advice I give him and the lessons I try to teach him are antiquated (like me?). At age 26 he (thinks he) knows so much more than I. Funny, how many times he tells me I was right about something when his way failed.

Love this, love this, love this!

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on March 08, 2019:

John, When I've met truly wise man they appeared to be drunk on life until I learned to reason. Maybe I am wise, all to often someone asks me "are you drunk" because I've been walking around in 0 degrees with high winds like I look in my photo since 1984. What can I say?

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 08, 2019:

I did hope I could successfully present a brief summary of life in this poem Pamela. I am glad you enjoy my poetry and thank you for your generous words.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 08, 2019:

This poem sure represents life perfectly and I think it is an excellent poem. I really enjoy reading your poetry, particularly this one.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Glad you enjoyed this poem, Gabe. Believe me, I didn't want to grow up either.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on March 07, 2019:

Thank you Uncle John for your poem.I liked your poem it's very true.

But I don't want to grow up!

GABE

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Thank you RJ, I really appreciate that.

rjbatty from Irvine on March 07, 2019:

Very nice, John. It resonates. Definitely one of your best.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Hey Elijah, you certainly present a good case for life actually being like a box of chocolates. I didn't even consider the harvesting, making of the chocolate and the altering it to make it sweet and tasty.

It is hard to argue against the comparison to that and life, initially being slaves to our parents etc. I guess it also depends on what type of chocolate it is whether the beans are ethically grown, dark chocolate with reduced sugar, as well as the type of centres..they may be all liqueurs for instance. Maybe we can then get drunk on life. Your comment adds to the value of the poem.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Linda, I love that quote by Mark Twain haha...so spot on. Thanks for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Liz, I really humbled by that comment. Thank you, for appreciating this poem.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Hi PoetikalyAnointed. Thank you for the insightful comment. You are right that life is easier for some than others, and we often have to look at obstacles as learning experiences to make us stronger. Yep, keep that chin up and have faith. Blessings.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Thanks, Michael. I am glad you can relate to this and I look forward to reading your upcoming poem.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Dream On, I am sorry my poem encouraged you to feast on chocolate....what am I saying? No, I'm not...glad you enjoyed.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Rinita, I always look forward to your comments on my work. Well, I guess some may see life as a bed of roses, but if so, it comes with thorns...so dread with care. I can understand how the "missing family time" could spark emotions. I can relate to that. Thanks for your kind comment.

Elijah A Alexander Jr from Washington DC on March 07, 2019:

Very funny but true, John, I was laughing all the way through it. Yet, I beg to differ with you about it not being a "box of Chocolates".

What do we know about Chocolates?

Most chocolate beans are harvested by "slave labor". It has to be "cooked". It has to be "sweetened" with, usually, bleached sugar to make it tasty and desirable. And lastly, we pay "a heavy price" for it.

Now, look again at what you said about our lives. Everything you said we went through fits into one of those categories. First we become slaves to our parents and the other knowledge overloads; "slave labor"; because of our inability to reason that was not included in the overloading. We attempt to process it - teenage rebelling - although we were taught right and wrong rather than be objective reasoners and don't see any other way to go; "the cooking". We go back to our first teachers, parents we so dearly love and receive their instructions of how they dealt with it; "the bleached sugar". After attempting everything - except objective reasoning - we finally accept some form of an existing tradition and take it in stride; "the heavy price". So, you see, it is "a box of chocolates" after all.

I ENJOYED IT.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on March 07, 2019:

Well played John. This reminds me of a quote that has been attributed to Mark Twain (but there are numerous versions): "When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."

Liz Westwood from UK on March 07, 2019:

I like how you go through the different life stages. I am also impressed at how you fit it all so succinctly into the verses with the great twist at the end.

PoetikalyAnointed on March 07, 2019:

Hey hey, Superb piece! We all can relate to this on some level.

Life is certainly not easy and I know all too well about having to rely on mom and dad when that storm hits. It truly makes you humble and often times embarrassed that things didn't work out like you'd hoped.

It all happens for a reason and it certainly doesn't mean that you're a failure or loser. Life has its u-turns and re-routes to make you stronger for the "real" reason that you were born. For some, it's easier and for others it's just a bit harder. I hate that I'm the latter but I have faith it will all work out for the best.

Let's keep our chin ups and focus on God when things fall apart. Have a wonderful day everybody!

Thanks, John!

Michael Claffey from Coolaney on March 07, 2019:

Love it John, I totally relate! I have a poem hoping to publish next week titled "it started with a Walkman and ended up a rude awakening. " the disassociation is startling. I feel you brother, great work and beautifully put together.

DREAM ON on March 07, 2019:

I wish you could see me now. We had a box of chocolates from Valentine's Day and I had to open them and have not one but two. Wow so good. I like to eat them slow and let the caramel drip into my mouth. Have a sweet afternoon.

Rinita Sen on March 07, 2019:

You summed up life, all right. I was emotional when it took the turn where we miss the family time. I suppose every phase of life has its pros and cons, and no, life is neither a bed of roses nor a box of chocolates.

Excellent, touching rhymes as always.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

That is so true, Nithya. Thanks for your kind comment.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Thank you very much, Kaili. I agree, it was the same with my parents. I didn’t always follow there advice but usually wish I had.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Yes, Sherry, you are right that what we get may be unexpected, but most chocolates are not terrible even if not you favourites. Some things in life can be totally unpalatable.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Yes, Flourish, Forrest Gump was where I first heard it too. Glad you liked the message.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on March 07, 2019:

Parents are always there to help and support us we just have to let them know we need their help. Words of wisdom in your poem.

Kaili Bisson from Canada on March 07, 2019:

This is wonderful John! And so true...when we're young, we don't believe our parents know anything. How I wish my mother was still here; I have gotten old enough to see that she was right about pretty much everything!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Yes advising is much more effective than telling, Eric. Cherries? Could be. Hurry on back.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

It depends what we like Bill. I prefer the nut centres, but not many are unpalatable like many things in life.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Thanks Mike, one of our Prime Ministers coined the phrase “Life Wasn’t Meant to Be Easy.” That is true for most of us. But we just have to do our best.

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on March 07, 2019:

You left out the last part of the quote "You never know what you're gonna get." In that sense, life is like a box of chocolates. No matter how we work and plan, we may get something unexpected.

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 07, 2019:

I like your message of learning from parents. I remember hearing that quote for the first time in “Forrest Gump” and loving it.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on March 07, 2019:

John I will be back. Oh by the way I thought life was a basket of cherries and every day had its pits. When as a father I stopped "advising" and just tossed out my thoughts, we grew.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 07, 2019:

If it were they would all be cream-filled but no, it's not. :(

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on March 07, 2019:

Hello John - Great rhythm here, lots of wisdom also. The cliché, 'Nobody said it was going to be easy' comes to mind.

Glad I stopped by this morning

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Great to have you read this poem and comment DreamOn. I think it must be more than mere coincidence when we write poetry with a similar message at the same time. We often don't give our parents the credit they deserve bringing us up. I too love chocolate but I force myself to be frugal and make them last. Too much of a good thing is bad for you lol. Thanks for reading and your kind comment.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on March 07, 2019:

Hi, Clive. Thank for being the first to comment. Much appreciated.

DREAM ON on March 07, 2019:

You have done an amazing job covering so many feelings over the years and you drew a virtual timeline in life. I enjoyed your poem very much. How true we can learn so much from our parents. I not only need a pinch of salt but the whole salt shaker. I could read your hubs all day. They are wonderful bits of joy in a box. I could eat a box of chocolates every week. Even if I get one chocolate I don't like. I keep coming back for all the ones I do love. Luckily moderation is the key. So I have chocolates every once and awhile. The craving is always there. Thank you for sharing and making today a good one.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on March 07, 2019:

Strong deep and very meaningful.