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Venard C.

Betty Woodruff, Venard Cabbler's mother, is the inspiration for his poetry.

Venard is now a published poet. That's not something he could have imagined as a kid growing up in a single parent home in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But when his mother passed away from lung cancer in 2010 he experienced a flood of emotions that tapped into a talent he never knew existed.

People bereaved by death find different ways to cope. For Venard, it was writing a poem on Sunday mornings to honor his mother.

Five years and more than 100 poems later, he completed his collection "Messages from a Messenger, Transforming Poetic Principles into Reality," which he hopes will inspire and help others. A portion of the proceeds from his book of poems will be donated to cancer research in memory of his mom.

"I've found that one of the greatest abilities we've been given is discovering who we are," said Venard. "No matter what troubles we may be facing today, we're empowered and strengthened to overcome these obstacles through positive thinking."

One of Venard's first poems "Know Who You Are" was motivated by his mother telling him, "I don't worry about you son, because you know who you are."

Venard shares his poetry and thoughts on the power of positive thinking in his local community. He created a poem about breast cancer awareness and has shared his mother's story at organizational meetings for cancer survivors and their friends and families. He was honored as the first distinguished alumni speaker at his alma mater, Delaware State University, where he spoke about the importance of strong character and performing with excellence, virtues his mother taught him by example. "Always make plans... Not excuses" was one of her favorite sayings.

Passion drives Venard's desire to share his poetry. He can't seem to turn it off. He's a messenger with a message.

Know Who You Are

Never listen to the "Nay-Sayers",
They don't want to see you go far,
Stay Confident, Stay Positive,
"Know Who You Are",

The days use to be longer, but for some reason,
They seem a little shorter,
Tomorrow's never promised to you,
But today, you carry a tall order,

Situations and circumstances,
Can sometimes cause you painful aggression,
Don't get caught-up, let your legs do the walking,
So your feet can leave a memorable impression,

You set a great example,
For your family to be extremely proud,
Your voice can finally be heard,
As you shout out loud, from the crowd,

Life is like a golf swing; you can get a hole in one,
Or just settle for par,
Never settle for less,
"Know Who You Are",

The world looks at your life,
Through a few different lenses,
Lead with your heart; keep rising to the top,
Those people are just pretending,

You don't even have to speak,
And try to give a false confession,
The truth will set you free,
Without any trial or jury selection,
The smoke is starting to clear now,
You left the battle with many, many scars,
Victory is finally yours because,
You "Know Who You Are"

First published: September 27, 2016

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