I have always been fascinated with the story of the Prodigal Son. This poem attempts to explore the reaction of the other, older brother – the ‘goody’ who never left home and never wasted his inheritance. I don’t think we can underestimate how furious he was at the special treatment given to his wastrel brother. He fails to understand the enormity of the father’s love, and that, ultimately, the father – who is of course God Himself – wants His children united. The ultimate value as far as God is concerned is the human person – every hair on your head has been counted…
Drown my sorrows? I might as well.
Here, have one on me, and let me tell
Of a father and his two sons – how he had
Coldness for the good, and kindness for the bad.
Is that what you call fair?
The younger was his father’s pride and joy,
Yet still a nasty, selfish, stupid boy.
Hear this – he took his share before due time:
Left home, lost it, came back, “Hi Dad!”, no crime!
No crime? Can that be fair?
No crime indeed, a celebration begun;
Nothing too good for this exalted one.
Meantime, the loyal son – you’ve guessed it’s me –
Outside, faced his father, and made angry plea:
“For me, do you not care?”
That old fool spoke of a ‘broken heart’,
And how the family was no more apart.
I put him to rights on justice and the law,
But need I say, my point he never saw.
And so: “Give me my share!”
I left my father’s house that very night.
He wept aloud and watched me out of sight.
He won’t now celebrate my brother’s sin and waste;
I’ve made sure their feast will have a bitter taste.
Now that’s what I call fair!