Double Tanka on Friendship

You find your real friends
When you are going through hell
It’s easy to tell
They are just around the bend
And only love do they send

Fake friends can’t be found
In pain they are not around
And they make no sound
They leave you to stand alone
And with no love to be shone


Sonnet of Unrequited Love

Twas mine own proclamation of emancipation
When I didst tell thee of passionate affection,
Which didst proceed from an opened heart
That cared not how thou might play thy part,
But for sake of my tender soul ye wert kind,
And in thine eyes some honest pity I didst find,
And thou didst not reprimand me nor demand
That I should take my leave to ever be banned
From seeing thee again in some fondly way,
And thus, though sadly, did I await that day;
Nay, thou even granted a kiss upon my cheek
But ye also implored me another love to seek;
Ah! I have found such, yet thou art mournful,
But o’er my fortune why now be so scornful?

Don’t Fall in Love with Me

Oh no, don’t fall in love with me!
My life is like the turbulent sea;
My soul is a labyrinthine mystery,
And you would quake at what you
Find in the quagmire of my mind!

Oh no, don’t fall in love with me!
My life is a bog covered with fog;
My nights are blighted with fright,
And you would get lost and tossed
About and chilled by my cold frost!

Oh no, don’t fall in love with me!
My life is at least mostly the beast
As I ceased long ago to belong to
Humanity, choosing an anonymity
With no amenity to lovers like you!

Oh no, don’t fall in love with me!
This is my most desperate plea!
Turn away and walk into the day!

Note: When I first wrote this poem in November 2016 I actually did not think it was one of my best, but as it turned out it happened to be a favorite among my readers. Now, within one day, there has been quite some renewed interest in this poem; therefore, it is being republished for the enjoyment (and hopefully appreciation) of new reader-followers. All the best to all with peace and blessings!

O Blessed Night

O when blessed dark falls, creatures crawl
And peaceful sleep calls with the night
When blessed dreams take free flight,
Any sight of waking troubles out of sight,
And I might climb the highest mountain
Or swim in the deep blue sea with you,
With me and together see the wonders
Under cover of sky high waves that save
Unknown treasure beneath their cloak;
I’ve listened to every word you spoke,
And poke my head into numinous cloud
So proud to see you again, beloved friend,
And only wait at your gate in anticipation
Of new explorations and sights to see . . .
While it is night and all seems so right;
O blessed covering neath moon and stars,
Soon enwrap me again in serene sleep
And keep me till Sol rises on far horizon

Cruel Cut in Companionship

Oh! You were my friend, closer than kin,
Who could comprehend my own heart
More than I, and apprehend my feelings
Much better than anyone else,
Reading me like an open letter,
And could loosen the fetters that bound,
And, too, you seemed to be ever around
When I needed you, my one true friend;
Ah! But you plunged your knife deep
Into the keep of my despondent soul
With words of malice and ugly anger
And for the first time I sensed danger;
Then my soul shriveled up within me
And I’ve left you no key to unlock me;
Such sacred bonds have been broken,
And no token of love can easily heal
Deep wounds that steal intimate trust;
Now you’ve made your deadly thrust
And I must guard each part of my heart
As we start over again
To chart a new course
Rather than simply parting our ways;
Friendship is delicate and no one can
Quite estimate just how relevant and
Even preeminent it is in life . . . my life!
Truly it is said, ‘True friends are one
Soul inhabiting two bodies!’ And amen!

Four-Square Game, Three-Fold Chord and Friendship

Six weeks before he died, a reporter allegedly asked Elvis Presley, “When you first started playing music, you said you wanted to be rich, famous and happy. Are you happy?” And the King of Rock-n-roll answered, “I’m lonely as hell.” And whether that interview ever really took place or not, I think the answer is true. He was lonely as hell and miserable.

When I was in about the fifth of sixth grade we used to play a bounce-ball game called “four-square.” For awhile, at least, it seemed to be the most popular game going, with kids lined up at break time to take their turn and, hopefully, remain in the game longer than anyone else. Or, even better, never get knocked out at all.

Anyway, one particular day I must have made an unusual ass of myself because, despite the popularity of four-square, someone (and I can’t honestly remember who) said, “Fine, you take it then. I don’t want to play anyway.” And he promptly marched off. The other kids made similar remarks and walked away, too.

And so there I was. I had the ball and four-square all to myself, but no one to play with. And at that moment I could very well have said with Elvis, “I’m lonely as hell.” What did it matter that I had the game all to myself? It wasn’t fun anymore. It wasn’t even a game anymore. (No solitaire version of four-square! It takes at least, you guessed it, four!)

Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter: whoever finds one has found a treasure.

Faithful friends are beyond price; no amount can balance their worth.

Faithful friends are life-giving medicine

(Sir. 6.14-16a, NRSV)

Jesus said something about gaining the whole world but losing one’s soul. I think a secondary, kind-of follow-up question to that would be, “What does it profit someone to gain the whole world but lose every friend, every loved one? To have no one with whom to share the gains?”

Besides, it leaves you weak and vulnerable. That day at recess, when everyone walked away, I felt very exposed ~ you know, naked ~ and even a bit frightened. Yeah, scared that I’d lost something very, very valuable and would never be able to get it back. Exposed? You bet! Left alone to the elements, so to speak.

Wise, old King Solomon was right when he said, “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold chord is not easily broken.” (Ecc. 4.12, NKJV) Something another king learned all too late. Elvis died very wealthy, very popular, and very, very lonely … and broken.

As St. Thomas Aquinas said, “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” And I believe it, down to the depths of my soul. You cannot choose blood relatives, but friends…? And what is life without that thrice-fold chord of friendship except darkness, fear and finally death? Indeed, in the words of William Blake:

The bird a nest

The spider a web,

Man friendship.

Touché! “Happy the man who has found a friend…” (Sir. 259a, REB) And never again have I wanted the game all to myself. And thank God that I don’t have to say with the tragic rock-n-roll king, “I’m lonely as hell.” I am not, thank heavens! I am not alone and lonely. There is the folded chord, and it holds… It holds strong!