by and by…

for my brother
 
Twin beds but we weren’t twins, we were
older and younger brothers born of a preacher
and his wife in a time that seems
prodigal now, the time of boys.
Our afternoons were ours, golden, unadorned
with today’s gaudy anxiety that boys might waste themselves
and grow into something less than extraordinary men.
We’d play up to the very borders of darkness then her
voice would rise and we’d run to supper round-tabled
nightly by our mother’s ordered fidelity.
But we knew first to bow our heads and clutch hands:
may this circle be unbroken, by and by, Lord, by and by.
 
Do you remember the candlestick lamp on that
cardboard table between our twin beds? It’d burn long after
they kissed us goodnight. I refuse to think we feared the dark.
I choose instead to believe like God, we so loved the world.
Brother, what we talked of in those liminal moments
I cannot say. But I can hear our twinned-laughter,
yours and mine. I hear it sometimes before I fall asleep.
On such nights I bow and reach for your hand.

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16 Comments

  1. Winn Collier on February 10, 2012 at 5:12 am

    that is beautiful. my boys have these experiences. I feel like I’m witness to a deep good.

    • thebeautifuldue on February 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Winn, your boys crossed my mind as I wrote this…and I smiled.

  2. Lindsay on February 10, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Love this, John. Sometimes my memories of those departed are so real tis as if they were there.

  3. Dr John Sutherland on February 10, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I was there … another place, another time.

    • thebeautifuldue on February 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      John, it is good to know you were there too…thanks for stopping by.

      • Juanita Williams on February 10, 2012 at 6:36 pm

        John , this writing has painted a beautiful picture in my mind of dinner time with you, Shawn,Dad and Mom(my cousin) holding hands around the table. Can just imagine you two boys at bedtime. What wonderful memories you have of you and brother, the candle ,twin beds ,,The twinned laughter and Mom and Dad coming in to say Good Night. Cherished Memories!

  4. Sallie on February 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Once again tears are brought to dance down my cheeks as I read your words. Yesterday we celebrated our oldest son’s 23rd birthday, while our youngest, at 21, was about his day on the other side of the world in Hong Kong. Oh may they always reach for the hands of each others hearts — at the end of day, or to show one another glory that has caught their eyes.

    • thebeautifuldue on February 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      Good to hear from you, Sallie…our Will is 15 today…my, my…

  5. Lizzie on February 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    I always wanted a sister to share my childhood with, and I got one, just 17 years too late to share a room, let alone the same house. The memories of childhood truly are golden. Thanks, John. Your poetry means so much to me.

    • thebeautifuldue on February 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      Lizzie, I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment…thank you!

  6. patriciaspreng on February 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    oh… some day… by and by.
    My opposite sons are just beginning to come around to each other again at 21 and 19. This breathes hope into my spirit… that a man could think this way and express it like this so beautifully. Thanks.

    • thebeautifuldue on February 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      Patricia, I pray that for your sons…that they might come around to each other…amen.

  7. thebeautifuldue on February 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Juanita, thank you for your comment…yes, I do cherish them.

  8. sethhaines on February 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Somehow I hope my sons are making these same memories.

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