Someone very dear to me who had been my friend for years launched a brief but fierce attack my way. I could not believe he did it. When I realized he did, I could not believe he meant to do me harm. Through tears I wrote these words:
You did not mean to loose the bow
That launched the arrow toward my breast;
Nor did you plan to shake the limb
That so disturbed my downy nest.
‘Twas not your will to hurl the stones
That hailed upon me like a storm; ‘
Twas not your quill that penned the darts
That railed upon my inner form.
You did not make the venom that
Your tongue so quickly shot my way;
Nor did you mean to loosen all
The fiery snakes I fled today.
You did not weigh the giant stone
Hewn by the words you spoke to me.
‘Twould not be there had you but known
The load with which I came to thee.
I know, for I have hurled some stones,
I vainly tried to have returned.
My quiver’s empty far too oft;
My fiery darts too much have burned.
I own some venom and a bow
Which oft unite in deadly flight
To far exceed in damage done
The arrow’s wound and serpent’s bite.
I know the empty victor’s guilt
When kneeling o’er my fallen prey.
I’ve held the sword when blood was spilt,
While joys of winning fled away.
So may I love you when you hate,
And may I bless you when you curse.
I cannot now retaliate,
For yesterday ’twas in reverse.
May I return an answer soft
To turn away thy hasty wrath;
For I have tasted far too oft
The bitter herb my friend now hath.