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With my antagonist I contended.
We wrestled and grappled
And our struggle reached beyond reason
extending down the years.

We clashed from the first, antagonists even
in the nursery: Mine! Mine!
And exported our animosity
to New Worlds of puberty and beyond

“Bad blood?” You ask – and I say “His then! Bad
from birth.” Though if you’d asked him,
sure, he’d say the same of me.
Our blood mixed, you’d see corpuscles fight!

As old men, flabby of skin, thin of hair
we were antagonists still
at an age when most others have forgotten
where they buried their hatchets.

And then he died – my antagonist, my brother –
and left me with a dawning realisation that
our struggle formed us both – gave meaning.
Now he’s gone, and I am bereft.

In case you wonder, this is a fiction. I never had a brother to contend with.
The seed of this poem was the Word of the Day on Artwiculate for 11th July 2011: antagonist.

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