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A Year of Poetry – Day 78

Though he, that ever kind and true,
Kept stoutly step by step with you,
Your whole long, gusty lifetime through,
Be gone a while before,
Be now a moment gone before,
Yet, doubt not, soon the seasons shall restore
Your friend to you.

He has but turned the corner — still
He pushes on with right good will,
Through mire and marsh, by heugh and hill,
That self-same arduous way —
That self-same upland, hopeful way,
That you and he through many a doubtful day
Attempted still.

He is not dead, this friend — not dead,
But in the path we mortals tread
Got some few, trifling steps ahead
And nearer to the end;
So that you too, once past the bend,
Shall meet again, as face to face, this friend
You fancy dead.

Push gaily on, strong heart! The while
You travel forward mile by mile,
He loiters with a backward smile
Till you can overtake,
And strains his eyes to search his wake,
Or whistling, as he sees you through the brake,
Waits on a stile.

— Robert Louis Stevenson, Consolation

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