When they are small, they’re a bother,

Mischievous,  troublesome louts,

They’re into your letters and diaries,

The house always rings with their shouts,


Their pockets are filled with those crawly

Live things–like spiders and mice,

With which they proceed to alarm you

(Kid brothers are never quite nice!)


Merriment shines in their faces,

Pranks plotted to your chagrin,

Until you, wailing, cry to your mother

“Brothers are almost a sin!”


And suddenly, childhood is over,

You and your brothers have grown,

Took part in the world that’s around you,

Married, had kids of your own.


And looking backwards, you wonder

what happened to make it this way,

whatever became of the brothers,

You lived with, enduring, each day.


How handsomely they stand before you,

How clean and how straight and how tall!

And as loving arms gather round you,

You don’t mind having brothers at all


Sandra Lee Smith, 1970s (written after attending my niece

Mindy’s Christening in Cincinnati, for my four brothers

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