Suffering is not a Competition     by Agnes Vojta

There are no judges who weigh

grief against grief,

no trophies for the heaviest burden,

no ribbons for the most deserving despair.

Do not compare.

You must pull

yourself out of the swamp

by your own hair,

declare yourself healed.

There will be no spectators

applauding at the finish line,

no paparazzi snapping,

no journalists waiting

for an interview –

only you

will know

that you’ve made it,

with nothing to show

than your heart still beating.

Agnes Vojta grew up in Germany and now lives in Rolla, Missouri where she teaches physics and hikes the Ozarks. She is the author of Porous Land (Spartan Press, 2019) and The Eden of Perhaps (Spartan Press, 2020), and her poems have appeared in a variety of magazines. This poem was originally published in Mad Swirl, 2019.

September Editor James Benger is the author of two fiction ebooks, and three chapbooks, one full-length, and coauthor of three split books of poetry. He is on the Board of Directors of The Writers Place and the Riverfront Readings Committee, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online workshop, and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and children.


2 thoughts on “Suffering is not a Competition     by Agnes Vojta

  1. This is my favorite poem by you, Angnes, and I have many favorites. I bought The Eden of Perhaps on the strength of it, and I’ve been reminding myself of it’s message all summer.

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