Buoy the population of the soul
Toward their destination before they drown
~ Robert Pinsky
April 2021
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Tuesday, 3. September 2002

Death of a Friendship - Harry Guest

I mourn, now that your house contains
such fractured shadows.
This wine you've handed me
tastes sour. I joke and you do not laugh.
When you speak, assuming my approval,
I stare into discoloured
depths of my glass, longing
to get away.

Rain drives against your walls. The few
shrubs you have planted shrink in the cold.
Where there was amity, questions
echo between us. Tufts of dark
lilac branching from tall vases shed
minute dry flowers like grief
for a lost fragrance, leave
on the smooth piano scattered omens
neither of us can read.

The past is empty of romance,
its summers flecked with heartbreak
and its negatives destroyed-.
But weren't there moments when
the blue sea glittered, when the lithe
curve of a diver forged another
link between wave and cloud?
I wonder, though, in fear
were those young grinning faces always
plague-marred, was the fun a lie,
were dreams we've jettisoned
mere husks about this dirt,
dislike? One fiction may
have replaced another for
wherever I look with you I find,
instead of light, a slyness.
We could not name the truth. What used to brag
lies in your cupboard under lock and key.
You care no more
for angels or the underdog,
translating all the terms we used
into intolerance. Your world
now clusters round
the emulation of the rich.

I can't feel glad about old times
because I am afraid
that what I see here I suspected then
but shunned the knowing.
The tarnish of this has rubbed off on me.
The years we shared look counterfeit. If so,
more than affection died today.
What hurts perhaps the most
is that in you as in a mirror shows
not only what I could have been
but what I was or am.

Big Book Of Poetry

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