This grey day poured itself thick as sludge
and my weary self destined to drudge
through sadness long as the width of pain.
Lo, angels sang and God be judge
my sorrowful gloom still can’t nudge
as the follies in life slowly abstain.

When has my life ceased to be
in the joyous throes of pleasantry
that a voice can find no care?
When once even a stranger could see
the value of common courtesy
to make life a happy affair.

Gone are the days when one would say
blessings to you sir and good day,
leaving the heart so warm inside.
And now life gives something less away
as tempers flare we find dismay
and our hearts only scamper to hide.

Where once our eyes were apt to meet
and our grinning smiles were sure to greet
our encounters now gruff with disdain.
Our meetings now boiled to things unsweet
quickly maneuvered and indiscreet
as indifference tenures our common bane.

But I shan’t allow this affectionate loss,
even in the face of belligerent gloss
and will kindly offer amenities.
With a smile I shall bear this cross
and allow my dearest words to emboss
with the humblest of guarantees.

And in the end when we do part
we each should check the beat of our heart
to find if one or two should leave with a smile.
For if nothing more I can ever impart
on my daily trek with this old oxcart,
let it be that our friendship lasted a while.



Here let us sit and bless our Starres
Who did such happy quiet give,
As that remov’d from noise of warres.
In one another’s hearts we live.

-Katherine Philips,  “A Retir’d Friendship”

© 2011 John Richter


About johnallenrichter

I am an aspiring Poet and adorer of life, a conqueror of nothing. However I am a champion curator of truth and friendship and hold both of those things most dearly to my heart. Welcome to my mind's eye. I hope you will enjoy what you may find and please know that you have a friend here. View all posts by johnallenrichter

8 responses to “Freundlichkeit

  • Mary

    John, so much to think about here. Depth plus beauty equals good poetry.

  • laurie kolp

    Melancholy and beautiful poem, John. Funny but I felt like the first couple of stanzas today. This too shall pass.

  • liv2write2day

    Sometimes I just sit and look around me when I’m in a crowd. For example, last week in a large airport, going through security, there were hundreds of people. I could only find 6 or 7 who had a smile or serene expression. Mind you, security lines and processes are stressful. But, still, we’re blessed with the freedom to go where we want, the finances to do so etc. etc. We are living in a sad society, and you give a good glimpse of it here, John.

  • claudia

    nice when an english poem starts with a german title, i already feel much at home…smiles and yes – much to think about here. seems friendship and friendliness is something that becomes more and more rare – we have to be careful not to lose it

  • Timoteo

    I so appreciate people who try to be pleasant…even if it’s bank tellers who are only doing it because they’ve been given sensitivity training by their employers. !

  • kaykuala

    Gone are old niceties of greetings and appreciating the other’s presence. Nowadays in any such encounters, the initial reaction is belligerence and physically confrontational. Often times a shouting match and unprintables bandied about unashamedly.

    Is it the rat race that had numbed our judgement, or cyberspace which is a no holds barred revelation of things which until recently were best left within the 4 walls. Now it is making trips around the world. What with YouTube – complete with statistics of hits akin to a popularity contest of old.

    Your verse gave a perfect insight of the current thinking and the scenario would not change easily but would rather be more testing on each other. I hope I’m wrong! Thanks for sharing ,John!


  • oceangirl

    Is the title friendship? And the source of the picture was something else. Things I never thought I would think! Your poem is beautiful, I follow your word after word towards understanding the message. My experience of the US is of exchanging pleasantries all the time, from the first encounter with the car rental clerk (has to be past the immigration point for that is another story) to exchanging jokes with the cashiers and waitresses. So very different from here in Malaysia. It is not that we are not friendly but it is not really in the culture. I guess we just do not talk to strangers.

  • ladynyo

    Oh John, I love this! You have struck a chord, a painful, enduring chord in my heart with this poem. It goes deep to the foundation of what is so wrong in our society: we have no more common, civil decency, and it reflects upon our personal, internal misery.

    I can tar myself with this brush, as I wake up in doubt and some anger directed at chimeras; ghosts. I will take your poem today and wear it. I will try to remember these soulful words and check my behavior and my heart!

    Thank you, John, for a lesson I have need to remember!

    And for a beautiful, heartfelt poem. Those words “width of pain” say much.

    Lady Nyo

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