My brother is in a foreign country

Posted: April 9, 2013 in urban poems

Tonight at Joe Hesch has us looking at a slant on life ‘love, sadness, nature, you name it’. This is one I actually wrote this morning so quite fitting. Come and join us.


My brother is in a foreign country.
The lines of communication broken.
As I lie here, the early morning spring sun
sneaking through curtain gaps,
he comes to me again filling my mind with questions.
Sparrows in the gutter above the bedroom window
flood that quiet air with cheerful chatter.
And I remember those phone calls.
Vibrant, quick jokes and laughter.

Most of all the laughter we hadn’t even shared as boys.
Now all buried by a strange rage I still don’t understand.
Do you remember that Venetian gondala?
The one that lit up, its plastic frame softening
when left on for longer than five minutes. It’s still the best
of those hideous holiday presents we bought each other for fun.
I wonder if you still look for that tat and think of me.
My brother is in a foreign country.
The lines of communication broken.

  1. claudia says:

    oh heck what a moving piece.. the memories of the time together and not being able to communicate.. so tough…

  2. Cymro? Hai Cymraes! Yes I feel that pull of knowing that a loved one is far away and braving god knows what. Family in Syria recently had to leave. Moving, heartwrenching. Great write!

  3. Anna :o] says:

    Very moving words Paul.

    “Most of all the laughter we hadn’t even shared as boys.”

    How often it is that sibling relationships develop into something deeper as we mature into adulthood and thereafter.

    How sad that the lines of communication are broken now and I do hope, wherever your brother is, he stays safe.

    Anna :o]

  4. brian miller says:

    what a rather scary prospect…to have a brother or one so close to you lost in another country with out communication…revisiting the things shared and maybe even the things unshared as well…and wondering at what they are thinking as well…nice write man…

  5. Poet Laundry says:

    Enjoyed the flow of this train of thought piece. Quite felt too.

  6. kelly says:

    This is so heartfelt and honest, really moving. I wanted to read more into it as well, but hope that he really is just in another country. Safe, even as he is distant.

    • welshstream says:

      Sadly your perception is right ~ it is about the breakdown of a relationship. Given some of the comments, maybe I need to slightly adjust the second line of the second stanza to make it more of a stopping point and pull readers into the real current of the narrative. Thankyou

  7. Rowan Taw says:

    With memories, such as these, communication could be restored, perhaps?

  8. Paul Tobin says:

    This is a powerful poem. I like the repetition at the end which underlines the sadness. I think you sketch the situation well. I gathered what the poem was about and your comment above confirms this. I am sorry that the relationship has broken down.

  9. I love how “My brother is in a foreign country. The lines of communication broken.” can be interpreted literally or figuratively.

  10. Beth Winter says:

    Your poem can be read as straight forward, words meaning exactly what they say. For me, they drew my thoughts metaphorically to the estrangement between my sister and myself, both too proud to pick up the phone and too hurt to open lines of communication. It’s been four years.

    Anyhow, thank you for your poem. Either way it is read, I reacted emotionally.

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