Some days it doesn’t take long to turn a few pages and there right in front of me is a poem I have read many times before, but this time, this one time it says what I never heard it say before. Poetry often does that to you. Today’s post is from the poetry collection of Nikki Giovanni, and the first of her poems I have posted. It’s not necessarily her best or greatest for sure, but it is for real. Like you I know that friendship comes in many forms and over many years friends have been right there at important and critical moments and they have been right there in ordinary and routine days as well. Oh what I would give for the possibility of gathering together so many friends in one place to enjoy and celebrate their amazing company and their many differences. Oh to be able to introduce them to one another. I know that silly question – If you could invite 6 world leaders, or five politicans (please no!) or four writers to dinner, who might they be? Take a moment today to give thanks for friendship and for specific friends throughout your life thus far. Might there be more surprises still to come in the ongoing opportunity to make friendships.
The back cover of Giovanni’s Collected Poetry 1968-1998 reads”When Nikki Giovanni’s poems first emerged during the Black Arts Movement in the 1960’s, she immeditately took her place among the most celebrated, controversial, and influential poets of the era. More than thirty years later, she remains one of the most lucid, lyrical, and commanding voices to grace America’s political and poetic landscape.” In the weeks ahead I will share some more of her work. If you wish, the following link should take you to a 10 minute recent video from Nikki Giovanni https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJBZPyCjLho
A Poem of Friendship
We are not lovers
because of the love
but the love
We are not friends
because of the laughs
but the tears
I don’t want to be near you
for the thoughts we share
but the words we never have
I will never miss you
because of what we do
but what we are
from the pages of scripture
we read in many places of friends.
Those who carried their sick friend
and lowered him through a roof
to get him in front of Jesus.
We read of Jesus inviting Zacchaeus
to come and spend time with him.
The fishermen who became disciples
were first friends to one other.
I celebrate the rich gift of friends.
Those who have caused me to laugh,
those with whom I have shed tears,
those who have encouraged,
those who have been there when most needed.
I celebrate those friends
from whom I have learnt how to be both humble and holy,
from whom I have learnt how to be a friend.
Bless them all this day and the treasured
memory of those who have
run the race of faith and finished the task.
Might my life be open and true
and ever welcoming in the making of friends. Amen.