Thursday, January 04, 2007

Will You Be My Friend?

Reading blog posts over the past couple of days, I’ve found that 2007 has not begun as well as I—and perhaps, you—had hoped. I have found that there are quite a few folks in pain— loneliness, fear, emptiness, loss proliferate numerous blogs.

Although I don’t feel the need to express my own disappointment and alarm at what seems to be a bleak future, I do want to address the loneliness, fear, emptiness and loss that I have encountered in my own life and what appears to be the lives of others.

Yesterday I remembered the words of one of my favorite poets, James Kavanaugh. I have previously posted one of Kavanaugh’s poems with which I personally identify—and that people who know me well believe describes me to a “t”—There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves. Now I want to share with you another of his poems:


Who am I? I am not sure.
Once I was a rabbit's grave and a basketball hoop on
the garage, a cucumber patch, lilac trees and peonies crawling
with ants. I was stepping stones and a mysterious cistern,
grass fires, water fights and ping pong in the basement.
I was a picket fence, a bed and maple chest of drawers
I shared with brothers, a dog named Sandy who danced.
Friends were easy to find. We climbed trees, built grass huts,
chased snakes—and we dreamed a lot.

WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND? Beyond childhood.

Who am I? I am not sure.
Once I was predictable. I was educated, trained, loved—not
as I was, but as I seemed to be. My role was my safe
way of hiding. There was no reason to change. I was approved.
I pleased. Then, almost suddenly, I changed. Now I am less
sure, more myself. My role has almost disappeared.
My roots are not in my church, my job, my city;
even my world. They are in me. Friends are not so easy to find—
and I dream a lot.


Who am I? I am not sure.
I am more alone than before. Part animal, but not protected
by his instincts or restricted by his vision. I am
part spirit as well, yet scarcely free, limited by taste and
touch and time—yearning for all of life. There is no security.
Security is sameness and fear, the postponing of life. Security
is expectations and commitments and premature death. I live
with uncertainty. There are mountains yet to climb, clouds
to ride, stars to explore and friends to find. I am all alone.
There is only me—and I dream a lot.

WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND? Beyond security.

Who am I? I am not sure.
I do not search in emptiness and need, but in increasing
fullness and desire. Emptiness seeks any voice to fill a void,
any face to dispel darkness. Emptiness brings crowds and shadows
easy to replace. Fullness brings a friend, unique, irreplaceable.
I am not as empty as I was. There are the wind and the
ocean, books and music, strength and joys within, and the
night. Friendship is less a request than a celebration, less
a ritual than a reality, less a need than a want.
Friendship is you and—and I dream a lot.


Who am I? I am not sure.
Who are you? I want to know.
We didn't sell Kool-aid together or hitchhike to school. We're
not from the same town, the same God, hardly the same
world. There is no role to play, no security to provide, no
commitment to make. I expect no answer save your presence,
your eyes, your self. Friendship is freedom, is flowing, is
rare. It does not need stimulation, it stimulates itself. It trusts,
understands, grows, explores, it smiles and weeps. It does not
exhaust or cling, expect or demand. It is—and that is enough—
and it dreams a lot.

~ James Kavanaugh


  1. Thanks, Nick for the lovely poem. It resonnates deeply. The old relationships are lovely for they've seen you grow and change but there is often that 'change back' mentality.

    The part about friendship beyond need is very potent for me.

    Thanks for the shoulder, and the understanding - without the need of explanations, Rev.

  2. I'm at a loss for words Nick. Such a powerful post and poem. Thank you.
    Your friend,

  3. That said much more than is evident. Beautiful!

  4. That was a great poem. Too many people are stingy with their friendship. They want to know what they're going to get from it.

    You sure have a lot of blog friends. :)

  5. Wonderful. The poem really touched me.

  6. I have just caught up with your news the last 2 days. Firstly, i am so glad your mum will be ok..fa news :o)
    I promise to be the last blogger standing on the old blogger!
    What a special poem, very beautiful. I think 2006 bought lonliness, pain etc to many of our blogger friends, i can only hope 2007 eases that pain :o)

  7. I have not thought about Kavanaugh in years. Thanks for reminding me.

  8. V. nice poem. SS Nick. Thx for sharing.

    *hugs* from a friend =)

  9. I still remember meeting my very first Best Friend when I was about five years old. She asked, "Do you want to be friends?" and I said, "Yes," and two minutes later we're running around the backyard together.

    It gets so much more complicated when you get older- and that's when you need friends even more.

    (I tried to comment earlier- "word verification" is giving me fits lately.)

  10. Thanks for sharing...I am one that is feeling the new year blues...lonliness is the best way I can explain it...its weird.

    The best to you!!

  11. Wow Nick, Our friend Hollis Williford did the illustrations for the book "There Are Men Too Gentle to Live Among Wolves."
    Yesterday I dug out this book and began reading it again. So when I read this post it gave me goose bumps. I really like James Kavanaugh's poetry.