March 7, 2010

The Elder Son and the Father’s Repentance

My brother’s gone inside. Hot tears well up.
“O Father, don’t you love me? Have you
one such blessing? For this son of yours
you kill the calf, and open wide the doors
of welcome. But for me, it seems, you choose
no festival, no ring, no robe, no shoes...”
My voice cracks with a sob; the tears run down.
“When my friends last came by, you seemed to frown;
I didn’t dare to ask you for the goat —
you know, the little one — so we could feast.
Oh, had you offered that, at least
I’d feel you took some notice, made some note
of how I’ve worked and not complained... but now...”
My voice gives out.
                    But then I see his eyes
are also filled with tears; he on my shoulders
lays his hands, then draws me to his breast,
“My Son, my Son,” he says, “My firstborn son,
my heir, my joy, my pride — when I to rest
am gone, all that I have is yours, and none
but you shall hold it. Did I, Son, neglect
to tell you that? That you were the elect,
to hold by right inheritance all this?
Then I confess that I have done amiss.
Forgive me for assuming that you knew,
for never saying how much I love you...
but come inside; to celebrate with joy;
I love you, Son, more than the younger boy.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG
Lent 3 2010


June Butler said...

Tobias, your poem passed my frisson test - frisson in the good sense - a stirring, a response to lovely words, indeed.

Erika Baker said...

"Forgive me for assuming that you knew,
for never saying how much I love you..."

But that.... maybe yes?

motheramelia said...

How much we all need to hear those words. Thank you.

Lynn said...

Thank you for this, Tobias. I often think of the eldest son when reading this parable. There are many Christians who over-emphasize the importance of being lost, or unbelieving - then "born again."

Life long believers, in turn, must remember that there are huge rewards in staying in the family during good times and bad. There is no real fear of approaching God in times of trouble, even if you haven't called for a couple of weeks. You always know God will answer on the first ring, as if waiting by the phone.

How lovely - the verification word is "entre."

Jan said...

The words I needed to hear/read tonight. Thank you.

TheraP said...

Exquisite poetry....