The Plan by Wendell Berry

My old friend, the owner
of a new boat, stops by
to ask me to fish with him,

and I say I will–both of us
knowing that we may never
get around to it, it may be

years before we’re both
idle again on the same day.
But we make a plan, anyhow,

in honor of friendship
and the fine spring weather
and the new boat

and our sudden thought
of the water shining
under the morning fog.

A Meeting by Wendell Berry

In a dream I meet
my dead friend. He has,
I know, gone long and far,
and yet he is the same
for the dead are changeless.
They grow no older.
It is I who have changed,
grown strange to what I was.
Yet I, the changed one,
ask: “How you been?”
He grins and looks at me.
“I been eating peaches
off some mighty fine trees.”

from Going After Cacciato (2) by Tim O’Brien

Leonard Durso

They did not know even the simple things: a sense of victory, or satisfaction, or neccesary sacrifice. They did not know the feeling of taking a place and keeping it, securing a village and then raising the flag and calling it a victory. No sense of order or momentum. No front, no rear, no trenches laid out in neat parallels. No Patton rushing for the Rhine, no beachheads to storm and win and hold for the duration. They did not have targets. They did not have a cause. They did not know if it was a war of ideology or economics or hegemony or spite. On a given day, they did not know where they were in Quang Ngai, or how being there might influence larger outcomes. They did not know the names of most villages. They did not know which villages were crucial. They did not know strategies. They…

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from the Book of Songs (Odes): 91

Blue blue your collar,
sad sad my heart:
though I do not go to you,
why don’t you send word?

Blue blue your belt-stone,
sad sad my thoughts:
though I do not go to you,
why don’t you come?

Restless, heedless,
I walk the gate tower.
One day not seeing you
is three months long.

translated by Burton Watson