Isam Hussain

(8-12-1938 / Iraq)

The Way of True Friendship


I used to look askance at him, kept my distance,
'Help of the helpless' they called him, I disagreed.
How could he be a source of comfort and solace,
when he is never at hand when most needed?

I always reproached him,
told him so, blamed him
for the ills in the world,
whether natural or man-made.

We remained strangers for many a year,
then I began to think and wonder―
perhaps I should try to know him better,
put aside my prejudices and draw nearer.

I abandoned the sterile culture of blame,
extended my hand of friendship in shame.
I sensed there was much to learn and understand,
if only I would treat him fairly as I would a friend.

Now we meet daily in spirit of true friendship,
free, unburdened by debt to one another.
there is no recrimination, no blame, no bother,
we talk at length about this, that, and the other,

but we never transgress the boundary
of complete respect for each other’s liberty.
Amazing how pleasant and light is the conversation,
how informative and self-revealing is the discussion.

At night-time I take my leave, I ask:
'Friend, is there anything you want from me? ’
'No, just come again and let us talk.'
I always do; he now means the world to me.

Submitted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Edited: Tuesday, September 10, 2013

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