Photos of My Son by United Reformed Church poet-minister Lucy Berry

feet on railway2Here! They’re all here on my phone,
all the photos of my son.
Here he is when he was born.
Isn’t that a lovely one? 

And here he is in Italy
looking like he’s three or four.
And here he is at twelve, maybe,
in Kerala or Bangalore. 

And this one shows him quite grown up
in Congo in the rain, and thin -
with brothers, or some other boys,
under a leaking roof of tin.

And here he’s in a city suit
looking plump and doing well
maybe L.A., perhaps New York;
really difficult to tell.

Look, here he’s dead on a dusty road;
a woman and baby lying near.
And here he is on his wedding day
in Edinburgh, the following year.

Here he is by his broken house
after some kind of tidal storm.
And this is him on the ground again
being kicked by a man in a uniform.

And here he is in a prison cell.
I’ve no idea what he might have done.
I never met him yet. And yet
whatever he’s done or never done,
he’s still my son.
Is he your son?

©Lucy Berry


Often, TV news that affects me most is news that involves and shows very young men. I know why that is. It’s because I can’t help imagining my Sav, (now 21), in all these world-predicaments. So, of course, this poem is about my identification with those other young men who could be him.

But it’s about two other things too. One: If we're all children of God, then anyone’s pleasure - or horror - should be ours too. Two: If Jesus is present to us in trouble, and in other people in trouble, then the sons of the world are our sons.
All of them.

Lucy Berry is a poet, a mum, and a minister of the United Reformed Church.
Her website is at www.lucyberry.com and she's available to perform, preach and lead workshops.