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The other son

The farmhouse thrummed with vibrancy. A party thronged inside.
Whilst out upon the moonlit porch a young man sat and cried.
He sat upon the rocking bench his father, once, had made
And in his jealous hatred he surrendered and he prayed:

“Lord, do you not see this? How is this my great reward?
“If this is Holy Justice, let me fall upon my sword.
I’ve worked for 7 years, double time. The work of two.
“And why? Because my little brother doesn’t have a clue:

“And now he’s back from traveling and drugs and party life.
“But does he have a business plan? Does he have a wife?
“No. He spent Pa’s money on his habits of excess.
“He trusted thugs and plunderers and now he’s in a mess.

“And what does Father do? Does he admonish? Does he shout?
“No. He throws a massive party and he gets the silver out.
“He hosts a fucking banquet, Lord. Did you concede to that?
“To you, my brother’s prodigal. To me, he’s just a twat.

“I worked the farm with Father till I almost broke in half.
“And now I’m thinking you just like to bash me for a laugh.
“I chose to stay with Father and an honest life of work.
“And you bestow your bounty on that selfish little jerk?

A gentle wind began to blow, that warm September night.
The cloudless sky seemed infinite; festooned with points of light.
And then a silence fell in the young man’s head and heart.
Before him stood his mother. For so long they’d been apart.

She sat upon the rocking bench beside her dumbstruck son.
She’d known that she would be here for this work to be begun.
“How is it you’re here, Ma?” he uttered deep and slow.
She smiled, held his cheek and said, “We go where we must go.”

“We’ve tuned in to this moment as was always meant to be.
“You, from your location; Me, from mine, my son. You see?
“I love you and I see that you are suffering in pain.
“You prayed for answers, did you not? I’m here to explain.

“When your brother left the farm, he left the things he knew.
“I know he sold his half and spent the money. This is true.
“But over seven years he was swallowed by the City,
“Fast lane culture; sunshine friends; remorse; regret; self-pity.

“He had to leave your Pa and you; the memory of me.
“And then he had to fight the world to prove that he was free.
“He made his bed a loveless nest. He slept on broken glass.
“He felt the need to hurt himself. He took the master class.

“He, too, broke himself in half. He had to taste dispair
“To experience what life is like when love is just not there there.
The young man heard his mother’s words. He knew that they were true,
He watched her, knowing more would come. He knew she wasn’t through.

“This farm is where you’ve always lived. Your brother chose to roam.
“Dispair was how his heart could navigate the journey home.
“For only when we truly leave can we come home again.
“It’s how the ancient cultures graduated boys to men.

And then the mother kissed her son with tenderness so sweet
Like a rose that sheds its petals on a dark forgotten street.
And in her kiss, the gift of courage bathed her first born sun,
And now he’s left the farm to roam. His journey has begun.

22nd January 2014 ©Simon Welsh Poetry
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