poem: My Brother Peter

My brother Peter

He was my little brother Peter and

He died at seventeen; a handsome boy,

His father’s eyes of blue, and pretty face.

The early years I best remember; that’s

When we were mates.  On family holidays

In Sydney, Portsea, Kalorama, did

The things that small boys do; we played with snakes

And lizards – Peter loved them.  I was four

Years older, so in time we grew apart.

I starred at school, so he made trouble, then

At nine developed diabetes, had

In mind an early death; so packed much life

Into a few short years.  Some friends were crims,

Stole cars, knew girls before his older brother.

He fought his dad, lived rough, and he was right

Because at just fifteen he got a rare

Disease and died within two years.  I still

Remember awful scenes of Pete’s last breaths

Once oxygen was ceased.  Our parents bore

The brunt of this and never quite recovered.

His was a short, full life; I hope he had

Much joy despite the strife and pain and fear.


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