You’ve got a friend, thankfully
They say owners begin to look like their dogs, but based on this picture it seems we begin to resemble our friends too. A judgement on the dog issue is unavailable as he’s not quite in the picture.
Anyway, the one on the right is John - friend for many years and initially brought together as English students at Sussex, both writing our own poetry, shaping ourselves as we shaped language.
We meet regularly over the years, and collaborate in writing too - a self-published book of poetry called ‘Limited Ballads’ (no prizes for guessing the inspiration there) and more recently an as yet unperformed play which is a sequel to Jane Eyre. Even more recently we’ve started to play guitar together, sending each other songs recorded on Garage Band, each guessing at which combination of Springsteen, Neil Young and Bob Dylan we‘re channelling in our amateur way.
The writing and the songmaking are part and parcel of what sustains the friendship and what sustains us as individuals too. Neither of us claim to be Wordsworth or Coleridge as writers but the personal bonds extend beyond the limits of the verses we have exchanged since we met in 1980 on a campus in Falmer.
I wrote a poem about our friendship for the ’Limited Ballads’ collection which in one sense could stand for any number of close friends whom I see infrequently due to geography or changes in life, work etc.
’We’ve made these distances between us,
Accidentally, you and I.
It just happens - life’s like that.’
I’m lucky that even though the distances sometimes remain, the friendships endure.