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.