Regret is a poem by the incomparable Ruth Desjardins


How can you be so careless 

With another person’s pain? 

You can’t say it won’t be serious, 

Or that he’ll heal again.


In living we must be aware 

Of what could hurt a friend, 

Of how we might destroy a life 

With pain we don’t intend. 


Don’t hide behind “I didn’t know,” 

Don’t tell yourself the lies 

That one is never really sure 

Of how the spirit dies.


Don’t pretend you can excuse it, 

Don’t pretend it won’t hurt you, 

Don’t you wait until you’re bleeding 

To understand it hurts you too. 


Some mistakes will ache for lifetimes; 

Some can leave your whole life haunted– 

Doubting and running and fearing the truth, 

Unable to find what you wanted.


Some mistakes can’t be forgiven, 

Some pain that “Sorry,cannot heal

Broken dreams that can’t be mended… 

Then you’ll know the way it feels. 


When you see a loved one suffer, 

When you know you’ve caused the pain, 

When you know you might have saved him, 

Then you’ll want to start again.


When you see you can’t erase it, 

Then the pain will start to burn; 

When you see you can’t escape it, 

Then you’ll wish that you had learned.


When you have to keep from thinking, 

When you know you can’t forget, 

Then you’ll wish you’d never done it, 

Then you’ll understand regret. 



About Author

Ruth Desjardins is a celebrated Canadian writer, born in Cobalt, Ontario, Canada.

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