advent journal: missed opportunity


I have a growing list of words and phrases I have collected from things I have read and heard. I am hoping to use them as kindling for a poetry book. Tonight, I offer one of the poems to you. The inciting phrase is “the compliment of your curiosity.” Here is what it set to burning.

missed opportunity

when my brother decided
to become a musician

I ceased to be one in
the eyes of my parents

they felt they had to choose
so we didn’t compete

but we both loved to sing
every song became his solo

I brought my guitar home from
college every chance I had

hoping for the compliment
of their curiosity

when my mother finally asked
what I was singing one Christmas

afternoon I didn’t know
how to take the compliment

I should say she meant well
but I wanted her to know

all the music she had missed
I don’t think I kept singing

or that I ever brought my
guitar home with me again

the words we think we deserve
are so much harder to hear



  1. Dear Milton, I find this poem very sad and wistful about something that has been lost. It makes me wonder, as the mother of two sons, what I had missed…or lost. Than you, Milton

  2. How very poignant. My younger sister could have written those words, too. I’ve often said I was the wrong big sister for her to have. I excelled in school. She had an undiagnosed learning difference that she overcame by sheer grit. But not before her self esteem took a beating. She could sing beautifully, but didn’t – because I did. For all our hidden struggles … Lord, in your mercy

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