Voices on the Wind
JOHN NORMAN WEBBER
by Wilda Morris
I who stayed to work with Father
as a plasterer—though I would have preferred
another life—was seen as the recalcitrant son
by those who left against his wishes
to make their own way in the world.
Unlike the prodigal’s older brother,
I welcomed my brother’s back,
attended feasts where they wore
the robe and ring, ate the fatted calf
which was never killed for me.
I loved my wife as much
as they loved theirs
and both of us loved children.
Was it God who denied us
our fondest wish?
Yet no one was more beloved
by the nephews and nieces
who climbed our locust tree,
walked with us through fields
of wildflowers, fished the tiny lake,
and milked our goats.
Uneducated, unlike my brothers
with their Master’s degrees,
I read Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary
for pure pleasure. When I came
to the definition of irony,
I said to myself, this defines my life.