Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Prodigal Son in the Key of F

I love words. Their sound and their texture, their look and their feel.

I love words well selected, well used and well arranged. The following piece is one of the best applications of the literary device of alliteration that I've ever come across.

Years ago, I had the privilege of hearing the late Rev. John Garlock recite the piece live. The piece was originally written by Rev. Garlock and Gwen Jones in the 1940s (see p. 10 of A/G Heritage, Fall 1990). It has been copied and reproduced countless times since without attribution. The theme is one of the most famous Bible stories, the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32). Here it is, the Prodigal Son in the key of F:

Melody in F

Feeling footloose and frisky, a featherbrained fellow forced his fond father to fork over the farthings. He flew far to foreign fields and frittered his fortune, feasting fabulously with faithless friends.

Finally facing famine and fleeced by his fellows-in-folly, he found himself a feed flinger in a filthy farmyard. Fairly famishing, he fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from the fodder fragments. "Fooey, my father’s flunkies fare far fancier," the frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, frankly facing facts.

Frustrated by failure and filled with foreboding, he fled forthwith to his family. Falling at his father’s feet, he floundered forlornly, "Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited family favor . . ." But the faithful father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged the flunkies to fetch forth the finest fatling and fix a feast.

The fugitive’s faultfinding frater frowned on the fickle forgiveness of former folderol. His fury flashed but fussing was futile. The far-sighted father figured, "Such filial fidelity is fine, but what forbids fervent festivity-for the fugitive is found! Unfurl the flags. With fanfares flaring, let fun and frolic freely flow. Former failure is forgotten, folly forsaken. Forgiveness forms the foundation for future fortitude."

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