A Broken Man’s Vow

by russtowne

It took two bad lungs
And a broken heart
To finally tear
My world apart

Barely alive
In intensive care
Hoping friends would
Visit me there

Most were too busy
To visit at all
To send a card
Or bother to call

Barely able to breathe
Alone and in pain
I felt betrayed
And they were to blame

But the truth came suddenly
A cold and bitter wind
To have the love I wanted
I’d need to BE a better friend

I made a vow to the broken man
Who had ‘til then been me
I’d get well and then become
The best friend I could be

I became one who could be counted on
No matter what the plight
From a shoulder to cry on
To help on a rainy night

Now life is so much better
I am truly blessed
For when it comes to friends
I have the very best

–Russ Towne


18 Comments to “A Broken Man’s Vow”

  1. I have had that feeling at times.

  2. This is lovely Russ.

    Yes, we hqve to be that friend too, dont we, and I find I am more content with myself when I do the reaching out to others. Years ago I would be the one to say so and so never rings me or calls. But then neither id I; its up to us! 🙂

  3. Russ, I’ve been intensely blessed all my days with genuine, loyal friendships and have often questioned these friends why they’ve maintained our friendship [one has been a 44 yr friendship ]; their usual reply has been “I know you’re there without explanations or hesitation.” However at times I confused this to mean that because I’m bedridden I was at their disposal. That really hurt, until a few yrs back a faithful friend said, “You’re mistaken Deb, we come to you like you go to God in prayer ~He always there.” I loved your words/poem because they’re humble and testify of one virtue many have tossed aside as fundamental — friendship. I know we all evolve with time & experience but, until we live what we learn and give what we want for ourself to another, there’s so much emptiness inside. I share my bits of poetry here because my friends are here, and you’re one of them. Thank you for blessing me with poetry I can read repeatedly and enjoy ~I mean that sincerely ! BEAUTIFUL sentiments !

  4. Russ, beautiful poem. Can I ask why you could hardly breathe? I only ask because I did have bad lungs and they were both transplanted in 2005.

    Best to you

    • Hi, Sandy. I’m glad that your surgeries were successful. I had holes in my lungs that let out air and collapsed them (thankfully only one lung at a time but multiple times each and several instances). The technical term is Spontaneous Pneumo Thorax (My spelling may be off.) They fixed each lung a month apart. Shortly before, my fiance’ decided she loved another man more, hence the broken heart. That was a long time ago. The pain is gone, but the memories linger.


  5. Russ this is a beautiful and poignant poem and a good reminder for me…I haven’t always been the best of friends with the people in my life, in truth I have been emotionally distant…I have always been the kind of guy that would give someone the shirt off my back, or listen to someone with a problem, but I never shared myself…I am not one that likes to show weakness and have undergone a few medical procedures alone rather than tell someone there was something wrong with me…I’ve always been walled off…as I result I have very few friends, but I know each and everyone of them are real friends…your words remind me a friendship is two ways…I have to lower my defences and let those close to me in…I have to be better and I honestly work at this…but I have to work harder…

    • Hi, TJ. Thank you for your kind comments, and for being vulnerable in your comments. I agree with you that relationship intimacy and trust are often built on allowing oneself to be vulnerable. I’m glad that you have found poetry as an outlet for expressing yourself. I enjoy your work, and it is likely to help you to practice sharing more of yourself and your spirit with others.

  6. Great sentiment and message – we so often blame others and rarely turn things on ourselves… very nicely done 🙂

  7. “To have friends, you must be a friend.” This is a lesson I learned the hard way, after years of loneliness. You expressed it beautifully. Thank you.

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