Samaritan Sonnet

for Liz Ryan, Luton, U.K.

My friend who worked the nighttime shift for years

would listen hours in the dark, alone

except for desperate people full of fears

whose only hope at midnight was the phone.

They'd call with suicidal thoughts at two,

when shops were closed and villagers asleep,

and flowers on the fence adrift in dew,

to tell of moon-blown problems and to weep.

Sometimes a dire illness told the tale

of suffering and pain in every breath.

Or unrequited love would leave a wake

of tears, to lead the dying into death.

But hers was not to judge or to advise;

It's in the listening that she proved most wise.

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