To an Old Friend

(For Lloyd Williams)

I like to dream of some established spot
Where you and I, old friend, an evening through
Under tobacco's fog, streaked grey and blue,
Might reconsider laughters unforgot.
Beside a hearth-glow, golden-clear and hot,
I'd hear you tell the oddities men do.
The clock would tick, and we would sit, we two —
Life holds such meetings for us, does it not?

Happy are men when they have learned to prize
The sure unvarnished virtue of their friends,
The unchanged kindness of a well-known face:
On old fidelities our world depends,
And runs a simple course in honest wise,
Not a mere taxicab shot wild through space!
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