Sunday, 5 February 2017

Bonding, an Aversion to Pear-Shapes


Many people seem to take friendships - including family relationships - for granted, always expecting the other person to keep in touch. As I grow old, I find I have less patience with this attitude. (I will be 72 this year.) 

I have nothing in common with any surviving members of my family; there is no point in pretending otherwise and I simply don't go along with the idea that family is family, whatever it takes. On the other hand, we actively seek out, select and bond with friends so it can be hurtful when they appear to care less about us than we do about them. (Could we have been reading the wrong signals from the start? Invariably, not...)

I care about my friends and they care about me, but no significant few always wait for me to phone, email, make time to visit or suggest meeting up and/or going somewhere. A friend may be ill, and if there is any reason I cannot visit, I will always try to keep in touch and offer at least moral support if no other. Personal experience has taught me how much a phone call (especially) or text, email, a card even...just knowing someone is thinking of you and wishing you well can uplift even the worst of flagging spirits. Sometimes, though, what two people see as a potential friendship doesn't quite have what it takes, and whether it becomes lopsided (one-sided?) or simply drifts into the mists of time, we have to be philosophical about it.  A meaningful friendship, however, will always last if only because those concerned make time to communicate and iron out any problems or misunderstanding that may well arise along the way. 

Any friendship worth having is always worth trying to save, and if both parties are of the same mind, saved it will invariably be... so long, that is, as someone is prepared to make the first move. Alas, otherwise, all may well go pear-shaped.

Oh, but friends are only human, and we all live busy lives. Even so…a little thought really does go a long way. (Could it be that someone is dialling my number right now?  Oh, what the heck? Reaching for the phone...)

This poem is a kenning.

BONDING, AN AVERSION TO PEAR SHAPES 

I am the tear that lingers on the eye
as it peers through the mirror of its days
and cares not for all it sees,
blots out dark clouds and acid rain,
settles joy once again
on the heart gladly given to another
in happier times
freely embracing me for its sharing, 
and (like love) enduring 

I am the tear that lingers on the cheek
having expected to receive dawn’s kisses,
but left smarting instead
from a slap by the cold light of day
in return for deeds played out
with best intentions but resulting
in such livid recriminations
as give rise to altercation that defies
either logic or justification

I am the smile that lingers on the lips
after apologies gladly accepted, if rather
late in the day, but better by far
than stubbornly corroding a mind,
anxious to recover all it has lost
yet never quite appreciated…until
fingers reaching for the phone
hesitate to dial my number, and life
goes pear shaped

Wherever dawns pass and sunsets dip,
I am there for you, called Friendship

Copyright R. N. Taber 2012

[Note: First published as 'No Appetite for Pears' in Tracking the Torchbearer by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2012; rev. ed. in e-format in preparation.]

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