Poems

The Prodigal Son

Sep 2017    

How flippantly
in the wild mustang years
of his youth
he demanded his inheritance
from the wise patriarch
of the family;
and then chose to lead a life,
unrestrained and borderless
in the glitzy lights
of the metropolis,
in roistering taverns,
in high-stake gambling dens,
and in the pleasurable arms
of women lurking
under street lamps
bowed in shame
– pushing the boundaries
of a hedonistic life.

But in the silent passages
of the night,
did he find gratification
beyond the sensory?
Was there satisfaction
in the inner recesses of his soul?
All he could hear
in the stark stillness
was the tinkling
of shallow laughter
from smoke-filled rooms,
the mockery of flattering lips
and the sordid taste
of perfunctory friendships.

But when at last
his resources were all spent,
where were his hangers-on
and professing friends?
Like the vapour of dawn
the veneer of camaraderie
had vanished
never to be found again.

And now reduced
to penury
in a farmer’s pig pen,
with a bare pittance
scarcely enough for bread,
he hungered
even for pig swill.
How could he
have sunk
to such depths of degradation?

In utter desperation and despair,
without a shard
of pride left in his soul,
he plodded back
to his ancestral home
to plead for pardon
from his father
and for employment
as a servant in his household,
yet fearing castigation and rejection
which he well deserved.

But who is this
who comes running
from afar
with outstretched arms
and with a joyful countenance
of welcome?
How could this be his father
now embracing him
– a graceless wretch
soiled with ingratitude,
who had scorned churlishly
good counsel and instruction,
headstrong and self-willed
in his thoughtless pride?

How could there be
such undeserved love,
such forgiveness
that would restore him
as a son once more,
and to hear his father say
that he was lost
but has been found again?

Incomprehensible Godly love,
unmerited life-changing grace!

Dr Oliver Seet –

is a member of Wesley Methodist Church and a Board Director of the Metropolitan YMCA.

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