The Prodigal

A poem


Aren’t you the one

who waved goodbye

then left for thirty years

only to return today

expecting us all to say:

stranger, good to see you.

Sit down, tell us your stories,

hear a few of our own.


While you were away

life moved as it does,

its engine never stops:

disasters follow always

the heels of celebrations.

Crops we plant, thrive

and are then harvested

or, plagued by drought

are not worth the effort

and are ploughed back

into the ground. The same

for so many of us.

Notice we move carefully,

knowing the heart holds

a hidden trap door

and remembering friends

who now sail underground.

Dropped in the plush of satin,

steering baronial caskets,

they try to cross the river

believing that in so doing

they’ll erase all traces of memory.


Upstairs, the rest of us

do work that must be done:

so much of it just plain forgetting,

letting go of those sad sailors,

waiting our prodigal’s return

for the chance to say:


Stranger, good to see you.

Sit down, tell us some stories.

Here are a few of our own.