FATHER OF THE YOUNGER SON
"While he was still far off his father saw him." | Luke 15:20
Even after I gave up
keeping the tiger cub
in his cage, I picked it up,
forgetting snarls and claws,
though I have bite marks,
scratches to show love
comes late, scarred to wisdom.
Though you keep the cub
from larger cats, beware!
Young tigers have no shame.
The years I do not count
passing the window in the front,
searching the road for signs
of that cat no leash could check,
unmuzzled, free, and bleeding.
The helpless ache is ordinary,
the Thursday tedious, as I give a
passing glance through the window
at the dot on the far horizon, walking
as many have walked before.
But the way he swings his arms,
turns his head, slightly
pigeon-toed. I am out the door,
down the stairs, down the road,
running, arms outstretched.
My embrace, my tears, my laughter
gather in all the years,
my kiss stops rehearsed
genealogies of sin, outlawing of self.
Of course, you are my son.
Be quick, steward, clothe him
like the son of an Eastern king,
the best robe from my chest,
wake the cook, load
the table with meats and wines.
Call in friends and foes,
blaze the night into day
with torches, push the chairs
against the wall, pluck the harps,
strike the largest timbrel.
When the dead come back you drink.
When the lost are found you dance.TAKING IT FURTHERStill simmering in the scriptural verse from the Song of Songs posted in the previous post - I am my Beloved’s, and His desire is for me - read Killian McDonnell’s poem “Father of the Younger Son”. Read it carefully and repeatedly. Punctuate it with silence. Marinate in its flow. Engage your senses: what do you see … what do you hear … what do you taste … what do you smell … what do you feel?
Poem | Father of the Younger Son by Killian McDonnell in Swift, Lord, You Are Not, (St. John’s University Press, 2003) pages 40-41
Painting | Forgiving Father by Frank Wesley
10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”