*A poem by Susan CoolidgeNo soul can be quite separate; however set aside by fate, however cold or dull or shy or shrinking from the public eye; the world is common to the race, and nowhere is a hiding place; behind, before, with rhythmic beat is heard the tread of marching feet; to left, to right, they urge, they fare, and touch us here, and touch us there. Hold back your garments as you will the crowding world will rub it still. Then since such contact needs must be, what shall it do for you and me? Shall it be cold and hard alone, as when a stone doth touch a stone– fruitless, unwelcome, and unmeant; put by as a dull accident– while we pass onward deaf and blind, with no relenting look behind? Or, as when two round drops of rain let fall upon a window pane, wander, divergent from their course, led by some blind, instinctive force, mingle and blend and interfuse– their separate shapes and being lose, made one thereafter and the same; identical in end and aim, nor brighter gleam, nor faster run. Because they are not tow, but one. Or shall we meet, in warring mood, the contact of the fire and flood, decreed by nature and by will, the one to warm, the one to chill; the one to burn, the one to slake, to Thwart and counteract and make each other’s wretchedness, and dwell with hate irreconcilable? Or, as when fierce fire meets frail straw, and carries out the fatal law which makes the weaker thing to be the prey of strength and tyranny; a careless touch, half scorn, half mirth, a brief resistance, little worth; a little blaze soon quenched and marred, and ashes ever afterward? No; let us meet, since meet we must, not shaking off the common dust, as if we feared our fellow men and fain would walk aloor from them not fruitlessly, as rain meets rain, and not to spoil and desolate. But, as we meet and touch eat day, the many travelers on our way, let every such brief contact be, a glorious, helpful ministry; the contact of the soil and seed, each giving to the other’s need each helping on the other’s best and blessing each, as we are blessed.