Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Brother, Can You Spare A Rhyme?


myself & brothers in boot camp, 1967.


Brother, Can You Spare A Rhyme?

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound
to the starless midnight of racism & war that the bright daybreak
of peace & brotherhood cannot be a reality.”--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Brothers can be,     usually are,      biological,
                     part of an actual family unit,        someone
                 to compete with during our childhood,
            over parental affection, first loves, 
food, grades, space, girls, teams, & fast cars.

Not everybody has one; 
some have a dozen.           They do not always get along,
                                  as it is with all siblings.
                        There seems to be specific problems
                                  associated with the birthing pecking order--
oldest, middle, & youngest.                 It is an individual personal 
              dynamic that simply defies generalization. 

From the Greek Republic
through the naked brilliant essence of Socialism,
to the stirring rhetorical seeds of Democracy,
              Brotherhood               
                                                 has been the touchstone,
                                                                 the heart,
                                                                 the foundation.
                                                                 the talking point
                                                 that has been much touted,
                                       infinitely discussed & always strived for.

In my life
many wonderful brothers
have appeared                         midst various alliances, schools, sports,
                                         the Navy, vocations, education,
                               and the holy pursuits of poetry, philosophy, & the Arts.

             As our work-life concludes, we glance about & count
      the brothers that are still in our sphere,
for some only portrayed brothers for a finite period,
            under specific circumstances,
            within set parameters,                 & then they went their own way
                       forging new alliances within other relationships.

Brother, much too often,
can be an overused insincere term,
dropped from lips casually,
without really being earned,
             like the hackneyed use of the word
             Love,                it can be as false,
                                                     as hollow,
                                                     as empty
                                                     as chestnut husks, or
                                                     as discarded cocoons.

If we are fortunate late in life,
estrangement with actual brothers
can be mended, healed, re-bonded,
as the foibles of youth
& the raging libidos ebb.

Now that my own brother & I are both retired,
               we are finding it easier to accept & accommodate to
                            each other’s eccentricities, suddenly able to
                                 regain respect & loyalty for each other,
                        as we share the retrospective historical overview
                 of our family’s tragedies & successes;
just hug each other
& be ever so grateful that
we are still firmly bonded
during the third act of our lives. 

I used to believe that there was no more room in my life for any new
brothers to appear,
              to endear,
              to revere,               but alas, I tell you through the fabulous
                                   fellowship of Poetry, fresh brothers continue to
                          materialize from all over the globe, as mere cyber-friends
                 have eclipsed simple communication & their heartfelt sharing 
has pierced the veneer of my misplaced resolve, enriching my stasis
                 with unforeseen intense brotherhood--that has actually expanded
          my mind,
          my heart, & my world view.           Miraculously, through the vital venue
                                                         of Poetics, this masculine intimacy
                                                   flourishes, & my individual pack of brothers
                                              continues to swell its ranks--
& on those good days when events dovetail, minds merge, & spirits soar,
I even feel the stirrings of my old idealism, & I am beginning to believe that
the weeping woes of this planet can be reduced by the sheer volume of
hopefulness as millions of poets proliferate within every society, nation, race,
border, group & heart. 


Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at dVerse Poets Poetics

Would you like to hear me read this poem to you?





17 comments:

Marina Sofia said...

Lovely tribute to biological and affinity brothers! I like the thought that at a certain point in life we can be more tolerant and put aside sibling rivalry.

Björn Rudberg said...

First of all I really like what you say about the false brother.. calling someone brother can be as false as saying love when you don not deserve it.. but also the late stage in life when competitiveness abide we can rekindle brotherhood.. in real and in poetry.. thank you for this Glenn...

Mary said...

I like your take on brothers, Glenn. So true that many do not have biological brothers, but acquire various 'brothers' along the way of life. Some stay with a person for a lifetime. Sad if brothers (or sisters) become estranged and do not mend their relationships as life goes on....it is a loss for all; and after the death of one there is no mending, and I can't help but think there would be great regrets.

Wolfsrosebud said...

a wealth of knowledge here... nice take on the prompt... families are made up of different people

Jennifer Wagner said...

Excellent! Brotherhood is found in many forms, isn't it? I love how you share that this type of bond can be experienced even without the same DNA, through sports, the military, poetry, etc. And I love that photo of you with your brothers--way cool. Enjoyed every bit of this, Glenn.

Hayes Spencer said...

This wonderfully shows what the Japanese call "Tamashī no kyōdai" - brother of the soul. Sometimes they are closer and more bound to us than those bound by blood.

Grace said...

First, that is a good picture of 3 good looking young men, smiles ~ I specially like the part of finding close connection with your brother now that both of you are retired ~And of course with blogging comes cyber friends, cyber brothers & sisters ~ Thanks Glenn & wishing you happy week ~

Gabriella said...

I have brothers but also have a couple of friends who, at some point in my life, felt like brothers. I am still in touch with one of them very regularly.
The reference to Democracy made me think of an article I read last week where the journalist mentioned that we no longer feel we are 'our brother's keeper'.

thecourseofourseasons.com said...

This brought tears to my eyes, Glenn. Brothers can reconcile and family ties mended - And yes, we create those bonds of brothers and sisters thru out our lives. Lovely write, my friend.

Abhra Pal said...

Ah you started with a familiar note but you so expanded the realm of brotherhood Glenn, loved this one.

quest4peas said...

Brotherhood becomes so much more when it is earned rather than an accident of biology.

Sumana Roy said...

love this journey from the personal to the universal...specially the brothers(hopefully sisters:)) enriching life in the third act of life...

Forest Pirate said...

I really, really agree with you

blogoratti said...

That was great...good stuff!

bwfiction said...

This was good Glen - so often our shared hardship melds such strong friendship. I wish it was an elixir that we could distribute across the earth.

Myrna R. said...

i like the picture of you and your brothers. Enjoyed your honest recount of your relationship with them, the healing that has happened as you've aged. Also, so nice that you have made new brothers through your poetry.
Thank you for your kind words on my blog.

grapeling said...

here, here, brother Poet ~