Thursday, 22 August 2013

Stoic Spirit, Vulnerable Heart


It is so true what they say about discovering who your real friends are when the going gets tough. Since I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February 2011, several people I thought were good friends have rarely if at all even been in touch by phone or email. I am not upset if a little hurt, but mostly a feel a sense of déjà vu, having been here before. Even so, I am fortunate enough to have friends who are very supportive and more than compensate for those that choose to look the other way.

Of course, other people have their own lives to lead, may well have problems of their own they have no wish to share or are simply too busy to put friends first. But real friendship deserves better, surely? Otherwise, it is an illusion. Sadly, too many people see friendship as a one-way street; they take what they can get from it, and give precious little if anything back.

True, we don’t give to receive, but when we put ourselves out for people, show a genuine interest in their lives and try to give support whenever they ask for it, don’t we deserve better than a metaphorical slap in the face?

Few of us set out to deliberately hurt others. It’s just a sad fact of human nature that some people are so blinkered to any if not all home truths.  It can take many years before we call it a day with he or she who has played a significant part in our lives only to let us down time and again. It is never an easy decision, and one many of us are just as likely to retract should he or she ever need us again.

This poem is a kenning.

STOIC SPIRIT, VULNERABLE HEART

I run the gauntlet
of love, life, fun and tears,
trying to make the best
of things rather than complain
about the worst years,
struggling to rise above
the pain human beings
inflict upon each other time
and again

I turn to nature
for comfort and brief respite
from a daily torture
humanity asks me to endure
with all the dignity
and stoicism of someone
always expected to put
other people’s needs before
their own

I lie awake at night
wondering who or what
is wrong or right
amongst all that’s been said
and done in the course
of whatever merry chase
mischievous Apollo
and outcast Cassiopeia care
to lead us on

I am that sense of loss and hurt,
trailing where friendships abort

Copyright R. N. Taber 2011


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