The Too-Late Prodigal

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 90th birthday.

Edna O’Brien
Irish
b. 1930

 

I knew in fact the old home house was gone.
No longer did good oak and stone make sky
Seem bluer blue against its brown and gray,
No longer were the tall rooms stacked two high;
Even the chimney bricks were haled away—

Yet coming through the pasture firs just now,
My heart filled up with all that used to be.
For one rare moment time reversed the years,
And home was there in all simplicity,
So living real it choked my throat with tears.

It’s there, I thought, awaiting my return;
Any moment I will see the door
Swing wide! Just then my seeing heart went blind,
And eyes saw lonely space, and nothing more.
Lot’s wife and I should not have looked behind.

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