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A troubled family Christmas poem

by

Angelika Rust

Dear brother of mine, who once was so like me
With the person you’re now, it is hard to agree
A long time has passed since the last time we talked
A longer one yet since the last time we walked
Together, until something pulled you astray,
You’re gone now, your road led you far, far away
From those who will, nevertheless, always be
Your roots, blood and curse; your family.

The past cast a shadow, it burdened your mind
And it caused you to turn your back on your kind
It lingers, with powerless rage, helpless hate
Oh, brother, believe me, I know, and relate
To your need of a word of apology
You can’t move on unless mother learns to see
All the pain that she caused, all the hurt and the tears,
Hidden in darkness, held back for years
Now bursting forth like the wildest of storms
Oh, brother, you’ve opened a can full of worms
Forgive me, I won’t step up and claim my share
For I’ve shed the cross you so willingly bear
Your hatred not mine, I’ve learned to forgive
Despite all the tears, I still want to live
My life with the people who always will be
My roots, blood and curse; my family.

Look into your heart and see if you remember
What Mom used to do each fourth of December
Saint Barbara’s day, she always would place
A handful of cherry twigs in a vase
Bring them in from the cold, into the warmth of the room
So that on Christmas Day, they would blossom and bloom
Be like those twigs, come on in from the cold
Do it before Mom and Dad grow too old
Plant some forgiveness, and maybe we’ll see
Love blooming underneath the Christmas tree.

Dear mother of mine, it is hard to forget
And I have to say, to my grave regret
That I haven’t, and chances are, I never will
But hate makes you empty, and I’ve had my fill
Of emptiness, hollowed-out anger and rage
Despair and depression kept me in their cage
For a long time, but even if I can’t forget
I can go and forgive, without further regret
For I love you and never would want to be
Without my roots, blood and curse; my family.

My brother, he can’t just forgive and walk on
You should understand that; after all, he’s your son
And one thing you surely passed on was your pride
Your way to hold grudges, your stubborn and snide
Way to condemn what you don’t understand
When you might as well empathize, reach out your hand
And apologize to who will forever be
Your roots, blood and curse; your family.

You did what you thought best, or so you would say
And will keep on saying till you’re old and gray
I have kids of my own now, and I understand
You can’t always be kind, can’t always lend a hand
No patience is endless, but that’s no excuse
For dealing out verbal and physical abuse
You’ve chosen your path, you’ve chosen your course
And as you walk on, the choice is still yours
You can go on pretending it’s the mark of the strong
To refuse saying, sorry, what I did was wrong
Or you can admit it, let my brother move on
The choice should be easy; your pride, or your son.
So open your heart, and maybe we’ll see
Love blooming underneath the Christmas tree.

*****

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