A man and his wife had two sons.
Both were intelligent. One let
his heart rule his mind, while
the other was ruled by his mind.

Second Brother was never satisfied.
He always tried to live up
to the reputation of his older brother,
but he always found himself wanting.

Eldest Brother ran a profitable
company, outwitting his competitors.
He knew the name and face of every
employee, and also every spouse.

Second Brother always had a woman
on his arm, and sometimes more
than one in his bed at night.

Eldest Brother hosted many parties.
And was invited into the homes
of many, for he was talented
in the ways of song, wine, and women.

Second Brother lived alone because
no woman would tolerate for long
his rash decisions and mutable nature.

Eldest Brother was brought low
by his neighbors when they uncovered
his repeated and widespread deceit.

A quick-tempered man does foolish things,
and a crafty man is hated.

* * * * *

This poem is in response to the Day Nine prompt at NaPoWriMo to write a poem backwards:

Today, try to write a poem backwards. I don’t mean letter by letter, or word by word, but line by line. Start by writing out an old saying that takes the form of a declarative statement. Like “Birds of a feather flock together,” or “A miss is as good as a mile.” That will be the last line of your poem. The next line you write will be the second-to-last, and so on, until you reach the “beginning.”

Process Notes: I found a proverb from the Bible that appealed to me, and started with that ending. I did not write the poem line by line, but stanza by stanza.

We got back Sunday evening from visiting family for Easter, so I will be catching up on reading poems and leaving comments. I have not been online since Saturday morning.

5 thoughts on “Backwards

  1. Cool! I think I’ll try that someday. (Remind me, if you don’t see it show up!) 🙂

    After I read your process notes, I re-read the poem as you wrote it…it actually reads well that way, too.

    I like the repetition of “eldest brother” and “second brother”…helped me keep the characters straight.

    Well done, Mr. Walker.



  2. First of all, a big thank you to both Paula and Amy. You are both regular visitors here and leave such thoughtful comments. I genuinely appreciate it, and I hope that I’m returning the favor.

    Paula, thank you. I was hoping someone would read it that way. I did, and felt it worked both ways as well, which surprised me. I’m glad the alternating names/characters worked, keeping the two stories straight. I’ll be looking for your backwards poem, and I will remind you if I don’t see it soon.

    Amy, thanks. I could easily have gone the snarky route myself, which was my first impulse, but then I was at my grandmother’s for Easter and her Bible was on her bedside table. Thanks again for your kind words and your encouragement.


    • Yes, Mr. Walker, I appreciate very much the visits you’ve made to my blog, and the comments you’ve left behind. I love the connections made with other writers through this frenzied month of poeming! And thanks for the promise to hold me to my wanting to write a backwards poem. I’ll try to remember–but your reminder will help! 😉


  3. Paula, glad you appreciate it. I, too, value the connections I’ve made with other writers this month, and it’s something that I want to continue year-round. Okay, you’ve got a week to come up with a backwards poem before I leave you a reminder.


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