The Kite.

Frank M. Juelich

A poem for the Prodigals of this world.

They on the heights are not the souls who never erred or went astray;

who ever lingered harbour-bound and walked rose-bordered ways.

But those who stand when first comes dawn -

Are those who stumbled - but went on."

Author ???


One evening alone in the almost dark, tired, I lean against the half constructed new bathrooms that border the north-eastern end of our playground next to the water tower. "Why do you push yourself so hard, I muse? Why not take it a bit easy as everybody is telling you?" I look across the playground to the big dorm, all lit up, for an answer. Subdued but joyful laughter of some happy little kids comes floating towards me. I listen for a while and then smile, some of the weariness leaves me. I got my answer...

About to walk to my bungalow I notice a ghost-like white apparition floating gently over the southern part of the playground. A kite!

I neither see the boy hidden by the dark nor the string. But both are there. The kite could not float without either. The string, I muse, is the most important thing. The string must be strong enough to hold the kite securely but light enough not to drag it down by its weight. The string that restrains it also makes it fly. I silently watch as the kite seemingly effortless climbs higher and higher till it is barely visible. Somehow I sense its desire to break free of the restraint. Yet ironically, that very freedom would destroy it.

Gifted with a fair quota of imagination – after all I christened our Nagpur Boys' Home "Kalpana Bhavan" (The House of Imagination) – I imagined a dialogue between the kite and the string.

The kite wistfully tells the string, "Let me go. Release me. You are holding me back; you are limiting my freedom to rise. I want to reach the stars."

"No, no!" The string remonstrates with the kite; "this freedom would destroy you. The wind pushes you higher because of this restraint. I am protecting you. I keep you save and successful."

But the kite keeps persisting; finally, with great sadness, the string lets go her hold of the kite.

Released from its restraint the kite exults and shouts to the wind, "I am free! I am free! Take me higher my brother."

But the wind just laughs as it tosses the now - free - kite hither and thither and finally, tired of it loosens his hold on it and the hapless kite begins slowly to float down. Nearing the ground greedy little hands grab for it and in their eagerness to possess it tear it and destroy it. Lying neglected on the ground a puff of wind picks it up and contemptuously blows it in a corner. Just another piece of trash …

Lying there discarded, a piece of trash among trash, the kite whispers to itself, "Is this what freedom is all about? Is this the freedom I craved?"

I cannot help but make the connection between that kite and the Prodigal Son. So similar are their dreams and aspirations and their final plight. The once proud and boastful son, free from the restraints of his father's laws thinking himself truly in the possession of absolute freedom, finds himself in same situation as the kite … Human trash - discarded - trash among trash.

15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him." Luke 15:15-16;

I wonder if he asked himself the same question as the kite, "Is this what freedom is all about? Is this the freedom I craved?"

A few days later a boy finds the almost destroyed kite and gently patches it up; then he adds the string and tosses the kite into the air and - slowly, at first tentatively - the kite rises. Hesitantly it commits itself to the wind that before so contemptuously had tossed it about and discarded it. The same wind that before was its master now, due to the restraining power of the string, is his servant.

The parable of Prodigal Son is one of repentance, confession and restoration; the story ends with the Prodigal returning home. Restored! But how many prodigals do?

If there is a lesson in the kite it is that we need the restraint of laws, customs and family ties to succeed. God's formula for success is summed up in this:

"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Joshua 1:8

A good kite string is both light and strong; light so as not to burden the kite and keep it from rising and strong enough that without great effort it cannot be broken. God's laws are the same. They are not meant to encumber us, to hold us back but to make us successful through moral restraint.

May be those of us who have thrown off the restraints of God's laws and find ourselves in the position of the kite - the prodigal Son - and find that our freedom worked to our destruction, should consider to return to the restraining love of our Father and plead like the hymn writer of old:

"Prone to wander

Lord I feel it.

Prone to leave the God I love.....

Let thy goodness like a fetter

bind my wandering heart to Thee."