The Difference

Author's Note: I was re-reading Robert Frost's "The Road Less Travelled" … and this came to mind about two other roads. The last line is a direct quotation from the Frost poem.

A "Chunin" is a mid-ranking ninja.

Two brothers grew up in a New York sewer;

Friends once, comrades, brothers-in-arms,

Indistinguishable to the casual viewer,

Not one superior, nor showing fewer

Signs of courage, strength, skill, charms.

--

Each brother held such influence,

Over one another and the other two;

That two pairs formed within the Clan, hence

The father's need for interference –

Singling out the boy in blue.

--

One Clan, one leader, that the rule

To which the sensei-father adheres –

So took one son to mould and school,

And make inherently uncool,

As an image of himself appears.

--

As willing wax the dutiful son

Obediently the impression takes;

But though he LEADS he can't lead one

Who rebels, fights and won't have done

And won't be what the father makes.

--

As brothers follow in his lead,

The Leader knows the bitter loss:

His other self must fight and bleed;

His closest friend won't give him heed;

His brother doesn't give a toss.

--

Watching as his other self

Is honoured by the name of "chunin";

Red felt he was upon the shelf

As jealousy – so green itself –

Bit him deep, let poison in.

--

The poisoned fangs of jealousy,

Turned all within him dark and bitter

A soul as sick as leprosy

Now made him keen to disagree

And made him nothing but a hitter.

--

Two brothers raised in a New York sewer;

Two paths laid out with best intents;

Forged a Leader with no lure,

Sparked bitterness without a cure;

And that has made all the difference.