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A friend

Sometimes you need a friend,
Who’ll just stand there and smile.

He doesn’t have to be a shoulder to cry on
For your own shoulder’s good enough.
He doesn’t have to be a philosopher-guide
Ready with advice, consolation,
Empathy, sympathy, compassion
Or other meaningless words;
You’re capable of them yourself.
He doesn’t have to be an all-weather
Friend of the kind that is ready with money
When you need it, for you don’t.

Sometimes you need a different kind of friend.
Who’ll just stand there and smile.

Who’s there to remind you that life
Isn’t a project to deliver and win rewards for.
That life isn’t for a higher purpose
Or for sacrifice to a loved one
Or to be spent away in unceasing, boundless pleasure.
Who’s there to remind you that life just is
To be taken one day at a time.

That kind of friend doesn’t say or do anything.
He just stands there and smiles.

His life is perhaps worse than yours
And also better than yours.
For there is no covetousness, or fear
Or strategy or bohemian vagrancy
In that blessedly wretched,
Wretched blessed life of his.
The sort of life, that is you see,
No different from yours.

That kind of friend has a life.
For he just stands there and smiles.


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