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Goretti Publications

On His Brother

Donald P. Goodman III

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If you knew my brother, you may want to skip this one. It very frankly and honestly deals with my worries, my feelings, and my thoughts about my brother and his death, and is extremely explicit. He died many months ago, and only now have I been able to put something of this into verse. I can never put it well; but perhaps this puts it adequately.

Warning: This poem deals with themes of suicide. If you are unable to handle such themes, best to skip this one.

Hear! for the lament of him who is lost, of the friend who has fallen, the foe who was favored, the brother I held to my breast and my heart, who has gone to his end off the earth where we dwell. A child full of joy and a chooser of jokes, a teasing boy with a bag of tricks, with a smile that would stretch from his ear to his ear and his eyes that would sparkle with spellbinding mirth. As he grew he grew troubled, his grin would then dwindle, his smile was then smaller, his sparkle was dimmer, but to know was to love him, and ne'er want to lose him, and fullness of fear when he fled towards a fall. The smile of that boy hid a blackness of soul, a darkness did lurk in the light which there dwelt, though bright was the beacon he brought in to bear, he failed to outshine this shadow so fell. And the day soon came when the darkness made cloud, over all in his soul, and then all he forsook, and the crush of the night overcame what he knew and his soul could not stand as he suffered and choked in the stifling stew of his sadness and sorrow and festering fever of unfailing fear. The bullet in his brain was a blade in our backs, and his hollowed-out skull was a hole in our hearts. Our sorrow and anger, our rage and our sadness! A truer betrayal 'gainst sacreder troth is unknown and unkenned, and can ne'er be forgotten, a plague in our guts till we're put in the ground. Can he e'er be forgiven when never forgotten, when wife is so weeping and sons are so sorrowing, when daughter is dadless and mother is mourning, when brother is blasted and family is blaming and blood from his brain has so blotted the world? What is left for us losers, us powerless lovers, the loyalest longers my brother has left, the faithfullest family that fool has so foundered, who seeing my brother, the smiling and brave one, the loved and supported, the longed-for and prayed-for, the brother whose back would forever be bolstered, who fled from his trouble, betrayed all his family, and chose his own self over children and troth, proving naught but a quisling, a coward, a craven, whose fear overcame all the causes of faith? Our time is so short and our tears so shower, our misery full and our mirth is so fleeting, our love is so strong but our sorrow so stifling, that seeing through weeping's a scene of new sadness, forgiving the coward makes grief even keener, e'en thoughts of good times bring but tears and more thole. But we too have a troth, and a trust we have taken, and a love we must levy to kith and to kin, to those who betray us and those who are true. So we beg the good God, the great God-man, our brother, who loves both the loyal and faithless; who loves both my brother and family much better than we, that He hold my sad sibling, and heal all his sorrow, and show him the hope that he shot in the head; that He help us to see and to hope in His swearing that His troth can be trusted and never betrayed; over time and all centuries, tears and all sorrows, till the gates of high heaven are gaping and wide and all weeping is washed and He wipes away tears and we meet Him again, and our grief is all gone, and He holds us all close to his heart in all gladness and our hope and our faith is all full and fulfilled; for all days and all ages, all death and all time, for the life without loss that we gain from true Love. Truly.