Doctor Larch peers out the window,
Pulling aside brocaded curtains to hide
The grief that he will not show,
The rending emptiness he feels inside.
As his son Homer rides past the sunset,
Not knowing where he goes
But aspiring to see the wide world,
The ocean at Mount Desert,
Seeing wonder in the expanse
And worlds inside a circle of glass.
He has taken with him his heart,
A dark picture of frailty.
He finds unexpected work in an orchard,
Leisurely harvesting round, garnet jewels.
The nomads, dark and wary,
Ask him to read about death and stars.
There are rules for the workers.
And Homer finds that they apply
To no one, neither nomads or
Curious young men.
He sees in the errant father
The reflection of his own,
The man who made him good.
“You are my work of art”
Like an artist with his painting,
Who resists giving it away,
So Doctor Larch holds on to him
Hoping his adolescence ends
And he returns.
Finding peace at the last.
The lack of rules bring about a sea change,
Allowing forbidden love and pain.
He ventures out once more into the vacuum
Of conscience set free,
He devises his own rules about the womb
And how to help those in agony
With all the rules now open,
There is nothing left for him to do.
So he boards the migrant truck
Just as the pilot returns, broken.
He watches the struggle with a wheelchair
Sees his lover watch him with her yellow hair
Knows her future, years of sacrifice.
And he admits at last
That he has a purpose,
The train to St. Cloud huffs slowly away,
With Homer standing in the wet snow.
There is the old asylum,
The orphanage and home on the hill,
Almost black, with the sunset behind,
Homer begins the long climb.
He approaches slowly.
But then, a burst of laughter
And children from the door
Flock around him, dancing, shrieking,
Some holding him like an errant dog,
Who must be told to stay.
“Will you stay?” they ask.
“I think so,” he smiles in irony.
He is home at the last.
I wrote this while watching "The Cider House Rules", one of my favorite films. Homer realizes that his life on his own is not that much different than it was at St. Cloud, yet it's much emptier.