Excerpt from ‘Pedrinho, the Prodigal Grandson’ (1993)The Colonel on his death bed
called his family to ask
who’ll take over when I’m dead?
My sons aren’t up to the task.
They bring to him his grandson,
a baby still in nappies.
It’s obvious he is the one.
So the Colonel dies happy.
Pedro, the eldest son, agreed
to caretake till Pedrinho
is old enough to succeed.
When he’s ready, I’ll let go.
They send the boy to the priests
to educate in higher things.
So the prodigy increased
in every way learning brings.
Meanwhile, the Regent Colonel
idled the time at his ease.
Land and quarries went to hell.
Drought brought Pedra to its knees.
The people waited for the day
the Colonel’s chosen would come
and save the town from decay.
Besides prayer, not much was done.
But the boy was bright and won
scholarships, more’s the pity.
He turned his back at twenty one
on Pedra for the city
where he became Mister Big,
and a stranger to his own.
Pedrinho didn’t give a fig
for his call, let it be known.
When the Big Man comes to town
the women recall the child,
not the youth who let them down.
And all their daughters go wild,
at his wealth and worldly ways.
The men are wary of him.
If grass grows, the cattle graze.
If it doesn’t, there’s starvation.
But grandfather who is dead
welcomes him with open arms.
A stone statue on its ped
descends with god Exu’s charm
in his hand, and gives it to him,
who says, ‘I’ve already got one’.
‘No, that is not the real thing.
It’s your fate. You’ve had your fun’…