Not That. This.

by Rev. Peter Friedrichs

I’m sorry, Mr. Frost,
Beloved Bard of New England,
But you got it wrong.

What did they do to you,
Mysterious Prophet,
to hurt you so?
To make you such an island
of a man?

Did the road less traveled by
lead to some desperate place,
And the road not taken haunt
you in your waning days?

What promises did you
fail to keep?
What miles crossed,
instead of precious sleep?

Home is not “the place where,”
as you once wrote,
“when you have to go there,
they have to take you in.”

Home is so much more than that,
some place of desperate returning
and withheld, reluctant greeting.

Home is

The place you make
that calls you back.
That lures you like a lover’s gaze
across intemperate space and days.

Where your deep belonging
meets and matches others’ longing.
The lost earring, found.
The puzzle whose last and
missing piece is you.

The place you leave from,
but that never leaves you,
so intertwined
and connected are we two.

Where patient tenders
feed the flames
whose fires call you
back again.
And again, and again.

Where hungry souls meet
’round the groaning board.
Our faces, a smiling smorgasbord,
turn as one to gather you in:
“Your chair is here, your place is set,
We’ve been waiting for you.”

Prodigal or not,
Son or daughter,
Straight, trans, queer
It doesn’t matter.
We would kill for you
the fatted calf
to honor your return.

I’m sorry, Mr. Frost,
but this, not that, is what
Home is.

Welcome Home!
Welcome Home!
Welcome Home!

From September 2015 Focus