The Prodigal Son
Familiar Strangers: New & Selected Poems, 1960 – 2004
To go away is not to die And to return is to begin again But with a difference.
I had a lot to spend; I spent it; Men’s eyes opened in wonder At my extravagance.
You know what it is to spend -- Ecstatic moments of release That spring from, lead to boredom.
But in the spending was the joy Those who hoarded never knew -- Know-alls, planners, calculators,
Safe adventurers who watched me as I Flung my portion to the wind and women. Some seemed to love me. They did not. They soon forgot.
Lose! Lose! Beat in my ears from dawn to dark The only lesson one should learn, The exacting savage art.
Not forgetting anyone, but outstripping all, I cross your threshold once again With such a history of loss
It stirs what you believe is your forgiveness. Forgive yourself, forgiving me. You offer, I accept.
We’ll go into a room. Draw up two chairs, Share a bottle till the early hours I have things to tell you before I begin.