Original painting by T.A. MarrisonA central question of life is that of where may I find firm ground as I search for my own position? Subsidiary ones are: Does friendship help? Is it possible to obtain support through common suffering? Or to define one's future position? And to what extent may one find strength through the weaknesses of others?
Translated from the original German by Pi Editors
Come, let the two of us bow down
at this, our so familiar place,
so many stubs you stubbed out here,
the white smoke rising from your face.
And then, in that deep silence
to which we often yielded,
A raw cough I coughed
and my eyes from yours I shielded.
At times a gentle word fell,
'I run from me, tomorrow.'
And you in turn, said frankly:
'My man has not been found, though,
I guess I am my own first foe ...'
I asked: 'You mean, above, below?'
Then we wept aloud.
Those were the days! I tell myself.
So awesome! they won't come again,
yet we stood there, all four feet
in a sea of tar then …
Come, give me one of yours
since mine are dull in taste,
I am changing, it would seem to me,
this house has all but gone to waste,
my doors are much a'rattling,
oh, were my sails by new wind chased.
The cigarette, yeah … I say thank you,
the way it tastes, the smoke reminds me
how oft you fingered stubs and drew.
You … yes you … I wish once more to be
* Theo Olivet is an author, artist, and retired judge in Schleswig-Holstein
The original German language poem appears at Gedicht: Freundschaft