January 31, 2014 by phicks2012
I’ll bet you thought I was going to write about the recent snow and ice, huh? No such luck. That will come later!
Those who write poetry tend to use it as a medium of expression, whether they express joy or pain, pleasure or anger, gratification or heartbreak. Poets can be inspired by bursts of powerful positive emotion, or by torrents of negativity. I’ve been inspired by both.
That having been said, I have taken issue since childhood with people who claimed friendship when they stood to gain from it in some fashion, but were quick to disappear when they saw no personal benefit in being a friend. I’m sure we have ALL had experiences of this sort with people like that, so it’s nothing at all unheardof. It’s painfully common, or we wouldn’t even HAVE the term “Fair Weather Friend”, but as a child and as a young adult I had rather a LOT of it, so I have to admit to being especially touchy about such things, even today. That also means that I place an especially high value on true friendship.
A friend who refuses to answer your calls or messages, or one who promises to be somewhere to meet you, or to go somewhere with you, and then stands you up with no warning, might be excused once or even twice — or even more often — especially if they have a very good excuse and offer an honest or heartfelt apology. However, when it just keeps on happening, most often with no apology or justification, it’s very hard not to come to the conclusion that your friendship simply does not matter to that person. Losing a friend is hard. Having to admit that they probably never were a true friend in the first place is harder still. Even some people I grew up with, almost from infancy, unfortunately fit into this category, as do some people I met considerably later and trusted to my detriment, or to my deep and lasting disappointment. True friendship has proven more elusive, and therefore far and away more valuable.
This verse is therefore dedicated to those people from my childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood onward whose friendship I once valued without being valued in return — and to those whose constant friendship I still value by virtue of it never having faltered.
When sunbeams fall to warm the earth,
And clouds like light-winged butterflies
No shadows cast to prove their worth,
But hover under crystal skies,
Then folk abound who smile and claim
Devotion, troth, and motives pure,
And promise when they speak our names
Their friendship will be strong and sure.
But when the sun goes cloaked in shade,
And we need take its warmth on faith
Then suddenly those folk may fade
Becoming insubstantial wraiths,
Who vanish all too easily
To drift to other sunlit climes,
And turn their backs unless they see
Our fortunates raised to better times.
We call their names; they will not hear.
Their promises go unfulfilled
With no apology, and tears
Will not restore a friendship killed
By faithless deeds and acts unkind.
For we remember with our hearts
How sharp betrayal is defined,
And what remains when faith departs.
A friend who true and constant stands
Through and storm and tempest is a prize
Of greatest worth, and life demands
That they be seen through thankful eyes.
And when the world becomes more fair
And rainbows arch ‘neath heaven’s dome
They will be waiting, faithful there,
Not coming back to say they’re home.
[15 October 2013]