“Decade”

It had now been ten years since last we met,
All but a very few, as all our lives diverged,
But when we meet to mark the decade’s passing,
Though our lives have changed more than we know,
We still fall into patterns, as we speak
And as we listen, almost just as if
No time had passed at all since our last parting.
And almost-friendship flows, just as it did
(Or even more so) when we’d parted ways
In cordial smiles and relaxed courtesy,
With somewhat weighty thoughts alloyed with cheer
As evening waxes on and darkness falls.
But then the company disbands again,
And God alone can tell who shall be left
And willing and yet able to be here
To mark when five or ten more years have passed.

I started writing this last April (April 28, by my notes), after enjoying the ten-year reunion of my high school class. But time, wakefulness, and words ran out before I felt the poem was complete, so I got down what I had and then let it sit in my files for months. Then, while going through all my old fragments to try to improve or finish what I could earlier this year, I continued it and eventually finished what you see above.

Family Reunion by Frédéric Bazille

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. If you’d like to read more of my poetry, you can read my archive (also organized in more manageable installments), follow this blog for (now only occasional) new poetry (among other things), or get my book, which contains over sixty of my best poems, each paired with a public-domain illustration or drawing. You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

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