Monday, September 14, 2015

To Friendship: Three Sonnets

Here are three sonnets written for three friends. Perhaps you can see something of the different relationships I had with each, of course revealing more about me than them. Two are still friends today, although we see each other little. The third was more a mentor, and likely doesn't remember me, but I remember many things from the senior religion seminar for science majors that he taught. One group of students looked at the frequency of major earthquakes throughout the world over a historical span to see if there really were more natural disasters within the last 20 years. There weren't. I heard John Hilton speak about stylometry. I heard the story of the cold fusion fiasco from one of the principles. We discussed evolution and religion and things like the Drake equation. One thing I remember most was his lecture about the transformative power of charity (love) in fostering mental health. It was neither sappy nor intellectually shallow, and inspired and lifted me for some time as I made baby steps toward managing depression. Now on to the poems.
Too unfamiliar. . .
Too unfamiliar is the ebb and flow
of oceans, or the warm rainfall, or break-
ers on the rocks. I’ve never seen the glow
of lava lighting night dark seas and mak-
ing boiling plumes of steam that rise and blow
around the world to fall on mountain lake.
But rain on mountain lakes I’ve seen, and trees
that send plumes skyward out of sight. No few
white snowflakes have I caught that flew on breez-
es thrown by winter, spreading light on moon-
lit nights. And I have watched the roll of sea-
sons, every year the same, yet always new.
Your foreign world is far, but it is mine;
We’ve only one, and mine is yours to find.


Since submarines are not my line, I should-
n’t be surprised you haven’t dedicat-
ed all your life to see man recreate,
with biochemistry, the world God would
have made if he had known.  Your car takes you
most everywhere, and me too, ‘cause I won’t
drive—it’s immoral.  Somehow your books don’t
make sense to me, and I can’t say that you’d
enjoy mine much.  The languages we read
don’t match.  Not even English.  You don’t dance,
and I doze off when you tell of the chance
some general had if he’d known how to lead.
But we sense truth is truth, a friend’s a friend,
and I think truth and friends must make true friends.

Brother Jones

My friend is quiet, his voice is mild, his smiles
are soft, and when we talk it never lasts
too long.  He’s never touched me, and our pasts
have only met, our futures spread out miles
and miles apart.  My life is mine to live;
he’ll not intrude.  Yet he has listened to
the Spirit whisper what I need, and through
His stillness knew just how to give.
He listened, taught, lived, and loved to show
me how to live in peace and grow beyond
the fears of man by taking up the trials
of humankind one thought, one step, one mo-
ment at a time.  Now we must hope this bond
of friendship might help others on our trails.

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