When I had nine months of chemotherapy in 2007 I spent much time on my bed trawling over my life, thinking about the things that gave it meaning. In that difficult time one has intense appreciation of the blessings of life, especially family, friends and faith. I often thought about the past and one day my old school friends came to mind. I don’t know why. I hadn’t thought of them for a long while and hadn’t seen any of them for over 40 years. When I got sufficiently strong I started to try to find them. It took a while but I was successful and to know them again was lovely. It was another of the very good things that come from very bad experiences. Anyway, I wrote this poem for three of them, Mara, Marian and Laurel, with whom I’d shared classes and for whom I'd had a particular friendship while at school.
Shards of Light.
It was approaching night that led me down
Labyrinthine corridors, through countless doors
To one long unopened, near forgotten,
And there in strange anxiety pause.
For who can easily confront the past?
Who knows what one will see?
Who knows what insights are waiting there?
Who knows what the reception will be?
The door was old, its hinges rusty,
I had to push and shove and prise
At lock, handle and heavy weight
Before it creaked open before my eyes.
O strange paradox that blackness reveals!
How out of darkness shine shards of light;
How light’s warmth and exquisite glow
Are often more discernible in the night.
O those shards of light! Those shards of light!
That enrich and sustain this life of mine,
Friendship, fellowship, faith, family, love
That darkness reveals with more apparent shine.
The darkness of night has long since receded
But that opened door added one special glow,
One shard of light -three rediscovered friends-
From the princedom of youth so long, long, ago.