Hal O’Leary

On Graduation

On this your day you will receive
advice from everyone you know.
There’s little of it you’ll retain
And really there’s no reason why you should,
for what you will most likely get
are all the things that brought success to them,
as though your life should be a mirror of their own.

But who knows what your life will be,
what opportunities you’ll find,
what trials you may encounter.
Just be prepared for all that comes your way,
And toward that end take heed of this,
In opting twixt the head and heart,
I’d choose the heart for happiness.
And for success, you need no more than this.
Keep all options open
for as long as well you can.


Hal O’Leary, having retired at age 84 from a life of teaching, he has now, at age 90, been published in 18 different countries. He lives by a quote from his son’s play “Wine to Blood”, “I don’t know if there is a Utopia, but I am certain that we must act as though there can be.” Hal is a recent recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from West Liberty University the same institution from which he became a college dropout some 60 years earlier. He currently resides in Wheeling, WV.

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