An old friend called on me today,
past indiscretions to relive.
Long decades passed since we had spoke;
he hoped ill feelings I’d forgive.

We had once been the best of friends
but problems came as years flew by;
we had gone our own separate ways—
a friendship left to slowly die.

A bottle shared for old times’ sake
and talk of people we once knew,
of fights, fast cars, and football games
and girls we loved, more than a few.

After a while my mind grew tired
and conversation became dreary.
Eventually he took his leave;
I was alone confused and teary.

Time melts away as years elapse—
some days there’s sun, some days there’s thunder,
regrets shrugged off as life moves on
and some friendships are rent asunder.

Misunderstandings in the past,
disagreements I forgave
while pilgrimaging to see him
and place some flowers on his grave.



Phil S. Rogers is a sixth generation Vermonter, age 72, now retired, and living in Texas. He served in the United States Air Force and had a career in real estate and banking.  He previously published Everlasting Glory, a historical work that tells the story of each of the men from Vermont that was awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor during the Civil War. 

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3 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    I was at the point of thinking “kind of boring” and then …

  2. Alan

    Although there are some irregularities in capitalization, and I stumbled in the last stanza, this is a thought-provoking and important poem. If, as some people claim, time and space are illusions, then perhaps we really cannot leave each other, and perhaps the universe is a type of hologram in which the whole is contained within each part.

    I tend to use semicolons in short stanzas and reserve a period for the end of the stanza. I also capitalize the first letter on each line, regardless of where the first word occurs in the sentence. In Spanish poetry, on the other hand, capitalization is used only at the beginning of sentences (and with proper nouns that require it). But of course you have the poetic license to capitalize as you wish.

    As far as the last stanza goes, you might try revising it so the grammar and structure are a little bit more obvious. For example:

    Our former conflicts, disagreements,
    and misunderstandings I forgave
    while pilgrimaging to see him,
    while putting flowers on his grave.

    I feel that “pilgrimaging” kind of stretches the meter and is hard to pronounce, but you may have good reasons to use this word.

  3. Margaret Coats

    As Alan says, this is a thought-provoking poem, and nicely structured to reveal the thought, with four stanzas of today, a transitional one of indeterminate time, and a final one of another today. I really like the transition stanza, and if I may follow Alan in making suggestions, I’d give some light touches to the meter as follows:

    some friendships may be rent asunder.

    Misunderstandings in the past
    And disagreements I forgave
    While pilgrimaging late to see him,
    And place some flowers on his grave.

    In the change to the transition stanza, “some friendships” now parallels “some days” to keep the flow going as you reach the final stanza. In that last stanza, the suggestion adds just one word to the second line, and one more word to the third. “Late” anticipates “grave” with the same long vowel sound–and as I read the line, the additional syllable creates a pause for breath after “him.”

    I hope this is sensitive to the effect you aim for; the poem does display a fine personal touch in its interpretation of the course of this friendship.


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