You have been there. The fight has grown so long,
I have lost count of all my battles fought.
My blade is bloodied, and my flesh is torn.
This war that we call life has made me strong,
and each success has been so dearly bought
beneath the weight of struggle and of scorn.
Though there are many crowded at the line
to watch me win the race, you shared the road.
So in the times I fell and lost my heart,
or knelt with broken knees and twisted spine,
you reached to raise me, shouldering my load.
You walked the weary wasteland from the start.
And there are always those who claim the win,
who show up for the trophies made of gold,
but you have been there for the grueling climb.
You offered faithful words and cheering grin
through all the pain, the tears, the biting cold,
through hateful words that rained like acid slime.
So let them come and boast with puffing chests,
and let them list me in their accolades.
The straws they grasp are empty as the air.
For in the times the haggard line was pressed,
I found you at my shoulder in the glade.
Through hell, with all its heartache, you were there.
– s. Clark