Poem: Two Friends by C.J. Dennis

In Memory Of Will Dyson and W.T.B. McCormack

Two treasured friends have slipped away,
   Mayhap to peace veiled from our eyes;
And one was simple as the day,
   And one complex and keenly wise,
And both of them I sorely miss.
   These mates, now passed beyond our ken,
For both of them were one in this:
   They practised friendship as true men.

A friendship, not for me alone,
   But for that variant world each knew,
As variant worlds must e'er be known
   To men unlike, as were these two.
Yet both were like in that each fought
   His fight 'gainst poverty and pain;
And both gained laurels, dearly bought
   These friends I may not see again.

And each wrought well that he might give
   His whole life to his chosen plan;
Each lived as worthy men e'er live:
   In service of his fellow-man.
And one he served by splendid deeds
   That thro' long years shall live again;
And one strove for his fellows' needs
   With keen shafts from a brilliant brain.

Each had his meed of human praise
   Such as sincerity must win;
One was a torch to light far ways,
   The other was a javelin,
And each served well as he knew how
   To ease man's burden of distress,
These vanished friends I grieve for now
   Because I have found loneliness.

The count of years may ne'er condemn
   Such friends or their stout constancy,
And part of me has gone with them,
   Yet they leave one great gift with me;
Such gift as few men come to prize --
   So feckless is man's heart and mind --
Till friend, but never friendship, dies:
   A faith upheld in humankind.

Two treasured friends have slipped away,
   Men as diverse as men can be;
Yet are they one to me today,
   These friends I may again ne'er see.
One in fine service, one in faith,
   One in a friendship, richly rare,
So seem they, till I, too, a wraith,
   Seek for them, haply, otherwhere.

First published in the Herald, 28 January 1938

Will Dyson was a writer
and artist (a brother of Edward Dyson and brother-in-law of Norman Lindsay), W.T.B. McCormack was a civil servant, civil engineer, and soldier.

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