Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Note on Being Your Friend

Over the past two years I have had to say many goodbyes. My friendship circle has been in great flux. At least ten close friends have moved on to new homes, to new jobs--not always with much notice, not always by happy choice. Sometimes they have put down tender new roots only a state away from where I live, sometimes half a continent. 

Goodbyes are an inevitable part of life. I can be (and often am) philosophical about this slow bleed of the heart. And of course I can (and always do) wish my departing friends well. But I also miss them. Some of us have decided "never to say goodbye." I post this poem in honor of all friendships that are strong enough, and flexible enough, to survive the tests of time and distance.


To be your friend
is not
to know what will happen next
or how it will happen
or why

It is
to know
whatever happens next
however it happens
or why
the ground beneath our feet
is still there
being ground

Call the ground what you will
Whatever name it goes by
it is what it is
always doing what it does
as only it can do

Being your friend
I stand on that ground
hands on hips
daring the world to shake me
from my place

No matter what happens
no matter where you go or I
however or why
I will always stand on that ground
even if I have to learn to dance
in the circle of sorrow

At a distance
on that ground
we are close
as this

This is all the ground asks

We must learn
to feel
and love
the tender tough
soles of our feet

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