Thursday, June 30, 2016

my brother is working hard

a greatness revealing itself

I visit my brother
where he is assisted in his living
with quality caregivers, 
comfortable surroundings, 
and locked doors,
he and his companions each drawn into their own worlds,
as passing time inverts the opening into others and the world
we each lived in our youngest years,

my brother’s eyes still bright,
his memory of pieces of the past still keen,
he hears what I say
and makes pretty good sense out of what I talk about,
wrenching the subjects into what makes sense to his world,

he announces to me that he’s taking a seminar
and “working on growing up,”
on realizing the world doesn’t revolve around him,
a message a friend caregiver recently delivered to his face,
a message I wish he had taken in long ago,
back when he learned how to use the extraordinary gifts of his mind,
his will, his assertion of his self, 
he is brilliant, 
some of his doctors remarking that, after the stroke,
 with half a mind he remains smarter than they are,
he is also gifted with a passionate heart, 
a driven quality to his emotions,
yet he never seemed to find the way when younger 
to discipline his emotionality into empathy,
into understanding the universality 
of how to care for and understand 
“the least of these,” our brethren,
he used to criticize my “Rousseau fetish,” 
my identifying with the worker, the simple,
those that protocol ignore into the distance,

our mother was a wonderful, loving woman,
who sympathized and gave to all she could touch,
yet she seemed not to empathize,
empathy for me one of the greatest strengths,
and sorrows, for it can hurt to feel as another,

how wonderful it is that Johnny works so hard now on his soul,
I see the greatness in him now
that for too long has felt to me obscured 
by a persona he crafted
because he knew no other.

by Henry H. Walker
June 29, ’16

No comments: