Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The Returning of a Child


The Returning of a Child

The old man sat alone by hearth, hunched toward the ground,
While his voice softly rumbled and his forehead deep and frowned
"Where are all the children? Why don't they come and see?
I've been all alone for years- what has become of me?"

"For I know I am a simple man, but still I would have thought
That an old man is a father, and a father's love is wrought
Through years and tears of guidance, and is not turned away
By an easily made decision - 'Oh, we'll go another day.' "

"I know I love this country and they have moved far on
The city, it has called them, and now I am forlorn
They've traded in their bushman's blood and it has served them well
But still I wish they'd ride these tracks and help me trees to fell."

But on the fire crackled, and no one did reply
Only the old sheepdog raised its head and gave a sigh
And the wind, it howled harshly and rattled through the pane
While the old man kept on sitting and the clouds began to rain.

The hours ticked by slowly, and hope began to fade
So the old man rose up slowly and on the pillow his head laid
"Lord, if you be listening, please send one home tonight
I've never asked you much - I beg, look upon my plight."

It wasn't till the morning when the cock began to crow
That hoof prints quickly thudded and packed the falling snow
And through the morning glow, a horse came into sight
Carrying a man, crouched in the morning light.

Bleary-eyed and weary, the man now struggled down
Dressed in garb and grime of a man about the town,
And as he thudded on the door, hope showed on his face
And when the father opened it, the son began his piece.

"Father, please don't spurn me, I know I don't deserve
You to help me out, I know I've got a nerve,
But you see, I've lost the business and I've nowhere else to go
You are my last hope; help me though my woe.

I don't wish for charity, I know you've none to give,
But I ask to live with you, the way we used to live
I know it's been a long time since I've worked this land,
But heart to heart I'm like you - I bear the bushman's brand.

But the old man did not listen, to the speech so carefully planned,
He pulled the boy toward him in his strong and gnarled hands, 
And as his son stood hesitant, unsure to stay or fly,
His father pulled him closer, and then began to cry.

"My boy, how long I've waited to hear you say those words!
Wishing, praying, hoping as I rode among my herds.
'I do not ask for charity'! I am your father, son!
You know I'll always care for you, no matter what you've done.

Your mother is not here but this is your childhood home,
And always will remain so, though the city you did rome.
It was my greatest dream, that we be reconciled
I have always wished to see the returning of a child."

And so they stood together, locked in an embrace
As tears of joy and happiness washed the toil from each face
Two bushmen reunited, a father and a son,
A child returned home, and a new beginning won.

Sarah Downes


  1. It's beautiful, Sarah. You've made me happy and sad all at once. I'm almost crying.


Let me know your inner thoughts. After all, I'm an introvert - I've always wanted to know them!