Retrospective on a Meaningful Friendship

5 July 2008

You’ve grown in beauty since I came here,
Grown in gentleness, and candor.
And, while truth remains in the old adage
That “familiarity breeds contempt,”
It’s likewise true that “familiarity” has a core of “family,”
Which is entirely appropriate as you have become
The mother of my soul.

It seems that the permanence of your walls
Belies a steadiness that I’ve needed
In some of the worst times in my life.
The trees and statues and paths and benches
Listened patiently — compassionately — to my tears
Of marrow-deep pain, and I survived,
Stronger, a bit more like those walls.

And yet also the exuberance of joyous sunset
Splashing on still-youthful hills
And the bubbling fountain, and the flowers and trees
Have been witnesses to — nay, cocelebrants with —
The happiest periods thus far in my life’s journey.

So thank you, mater almae, мать душа,
My friend at all of the right times.
It may not be long before I leave with one more parting embrace
Not knowing when next we’ll meet.
I’m sure you’ll grow fairer, and nobler, and better
And I pray you may find all such goodness
Grown unexpectedly within my soul —
Which shall always be yours —
When I return here once again. Farewell.

– Josh Hansen

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