He fled with no one left to goad,
His freedom clinking in his bag,
Yearning for the open road
And the chance he’d have to brag
Of all that he had seen,
And how the path that he had taken
Make dangers seem routine
To his callused, worldly skin.
He strode down the road away
Late in the evening sun
With steps so sure I could only pray
My love was not undone.
It seemed surreal, for several years,
Not to have him near and sound,
And many were my urgent fears
That time a search confounds.
Still I searched in every corner,
And twice more to be sure,
Asking every foreigner
If my son was still secure:
If they had seen him yet alive,
And where, for I must know
If he was well, if he survived –
Then there I’d surely go.
His brother would not say a word,
Nor would he help me look.
He said my hope was so absurd
Considering what he took.
He would not stop his work to weep,
Although the fields could wait.
He only stopped his work to sleep
As jealousy turned to hate.
But dust flew beneath my searching:
Such love will always hope,
Despite knowing he was lurching
Down streets that downward slope.
I even went out walking
The lonely, hilly trails –
Told the shepherds to be watching
For a body in the vales.
They told me they’d all lost and found
A straying lamb before,
And such rejoicing all around
When one such is restored.
I wondered, still, how long he’d last
With the money in his bag.
It runs like water, smooth and fast,
From a boy who needs to brag.
I knew if I could only see
My youngest face-to-face,
He would hear in my plea
That forgiveness was in place.
I thought how I would welcome
My well-beloved son –
And hoped his brother, proud and numb,
Would cease work and be done.