Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Vanished Friend

Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city that has no end;
Yet days go by, & weeks rush on,
And before I know it a year is gone,
And I never see my old friend's face,
For life is a swift & terrible race.
He knows I like him just as well
As in the days when I rang his bell
And he rang mine. We were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men:
Tired with playing a foolish game,
Tired with trying to make a name.
"Tomorrow," I say, "I will call on Jim,
Just to show I am thinking of him."
But tomorrow comes & tomorrow goes,
And the distance between us grows & grows.
Around the corner – yet miles away…
"Here's the telegram, Sir…
'Jim died today'."
And that's what we get, & deserve in the end:
Around the corner, a vanished friend.

- Charles Hanson Towne

I was reminded of this poem yesterday when I got a call from one of my oldest & very dear friends. We’ve been friends for over 13 years now; which I would like to believe is a pretty long time. But we haven’t really been in touch for a LONG time now, always citing the reason of being “busy” with work.

Yesterday, I felt terrible when I had to ask him who it was; I didn’t even recognize his voice. He commented it showed how less we were in contact & both of us realized that work has taken such a huge toll on us that we could not even make the effort to remain in touch; forget meeting personally (considering he stays only 15 minutes away from my house).

Makes me wonder whether all this is worth it. I am reminded of another poem by William Henry Davies – “What is this life if full of care, We have no time to stand & stare”