By the by…


…I figger it’s high time the rest of us started in blogging again. Otherwise, people might start to get suspicious. They might think we were doing meaningful work behind the scenes. Can you imagine?

Anyway, we had our parish priest over for dinner last night. He gave a fine homily for Trinity Sunday about the necessity for experiencing the dynamic of love within the Trinity as being rather more important than understanding its workings, and he closed with a bit from a book written by a father raising a severely autistic boy. On a day when the readings made explicit reference to believers as children of God, it was easy to substitute myself (and all of fallen humanity) for the afflicted son. I recast it thusly:

The Horse and the Boy

The child is simple – anyone can see it
The way he blindly flails about the barn
– in here, where blade and beast might do him harm
and him without the beastly sense to flee it

It’s not his fault – the flaw’s been there since birth
or further back; it’s left him largely with himself
for company, untroubled by the wealth
of words and rules that circumscribe the earth

Thank God, old Betsy has the patience of a saint
Another horse, with some less gentle spirit
Might kick, and stop his cry before I’d even hear it
(If his mother knew I brought him here, she’d faint)

But once I’ve helped him up upon her back
He flashes forth the longing to be known and know
the world beyond himself in just two words: first “up” then “go”
to seek and find what he and I and you still lack


  1. Hey, that’s pretty great. There’s a dangerous vibe in those first stanzas that I don’t often _experience_ reading poetry … well done.

  2. And since we now have no papers to write …

    might as well blog!

  3. Very nice. And yes to more blogging.

    • Broderick Barker says

      Thank you. Here’s another one I wrote for First Daughter on the occasion of her leaving homeschooling for the wilds of a public charter high school next year. Our little community did wonders to give her a childhood free of more adult concerns, and she has of late expressed gratitude for it.

      — for Olivia

      Wendy knew she couldn’t stay
      No matter what the Pan decreed
      She saw the work behind the play,
      Was wiser to the world’s need

      If boys are lost, they must be found
      And someone has to gather wood
      And love still makes the world go ’round
      And fun’s not quite the same as good

      She heard the ticking of the clock
      That warned old Hook of stealthy time
      She read the smile of the croc
      She watched Hook weep and flail and climb

      But oh, those days in Neverland
      Where even gravity gave way
      She had the grace to understand
      How precious is the passing day

      — June 2, 2015

      • It’s Stevenson on steroids is what it is.

        Good going. Top stuff. Hurts the heart like the butterflies of the river merchant’s wife.

        (Editor JOB says: How do you justify spondee in “world’s need” offsetting iambic in “decreed”.)


        • Broderick Barker says

          I don’t, except to say the “world’s need” line was on the page before anything else.

          While I’m at it, here’s the one I dashed off for First Son’s high school graduation last night:

          Rejoice in these four finished years
          I’ll tell you why: because
          You wanted high school like TV
          and lo, behold: it was.

          What drama have you not endured?
          What hi-jinx not brought low?
          What knowledge have you not procured
          To shape your selfie show?

          I talked of how the world worked
          But when I couldn’t reach you
          You plunged both hands into its guts
          And made the world teach you.

          You’ve run the gamut of these days
          Triumph, heartbreak, doldrums, fun
          Rejoice in all the wisdom gained
          Rejoice as well that they are done.

          • Broderick Barker says

            And one more, written for a priest friend’s 25th anniversary of ordination.

            How to match the world’s weight
            With but a feather on the scale?
            How at home in Church or State,
            Palazzo, or in spindrift gale?

            How see in me what I cannot?
            How smile in the face of sin?
            How truck with mammon like it’s naught?
            One answers all: not of, but in.

  4. I like it. I simultaneously adore and despise seeing my children grow up. This taps into that.

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