When he broke, the yoke of him spilled out
and there was an anger in his sadness.
Horror at the young boy’s laughing shout,
the sickening mirth and ringing gladness
over the destruction his hands had wrought.
The boys had found the nest beneath the leaves
on a branch too low; and now, what ought
they to do? Such treasures tempt the hands of thieves.
Wanting just to hold the precious thing,
he lifted it as gently as he could,
imagined the tiniest beak and wing
that grew within. The boy beside him stood
tiptoe to see, but when he took his turn,
he flung the precious thing onto the ground.
Broken. Broken. Broken. A sacred urn
shattered, a shriek from heaven sounds
within him and then pain. He is destroyed.
There should be silence, but there is laughter
in his ears and it echoes in the void.
There will be no birth and no ‘thereafter’—
the future severed with a jagged knife.
The expectant mother will soon return
to find her nest robbed and emptied of life.
This is how love, by untold sorrows, learns:
her unmet child aborted in the dirt.
He cries; but cries will not undo the Hurt.
*Inspired by a true story heard from dear friends recounting the experience of their eldest son.
Other poems about grief here on Moss Kingdom:
Tahlequah by Mark Hernberg, Cowper’s Grave by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: a tribute to my mother on the morning after she took her own life., Broken: a poem for Elijah in his grief, How ill a son returns his mother’s love: a poem on my birthday after realizing she will not call again, For Adam: a sonnet composed at church on the morning that I learned he’d taken his life