Wednesday, April 16, 2014

PAD Challenge - Day 16 - Quiet Words

Always in our hearts...
This morning when I read that WD 2014 April PAD Challenge prompt was to write an elegy, I wasn't sure who I wanted to write about. However, as the day progressed, one person kept returning to my thoughts.

Travis Wallingford was a classmate who died just before prom during our Junior year of high school. His birthday would have been April 12th, if memory serves, and the anniversary of his death is April 29th. With the prompt falling between the two, it just felt appropriate to write an elegy for him. For those of you who don't know, an elegy is, simply put, a poem for the dead. In this poem, I mourn a lost opportunity as well as a life ended too soon.

Another poem I wrote about Travis, Stolen, appears in my collection of poetry, Memory in Silhouette: Poems.

So this one is for Travis but also for his family, our schoolmates, and our hometown...

Quiet Words

We were tumultuous
You and I
Never quite getting along
We argued
We insulted
We ignored
You thought I talked too much
I thought you were a show-off
I never admitted I admired you
Maybe I didn’t know it, at least not then
You played basketball with elegance
You made friends with ease
You laughed and joked with abandon
You wore confidence like a multi-colored cloak
You teased me mercilessly
I was sure you hated me
Yet you reached out
Like none other had
When you saw behind the fa├žade
Upon hearing words not meant for your ears
I still remember those quiet words you spoke
The look in your eyes
The expression on your face
A mix of anger, compassion, and concern
I wanted to make you understand
It wasn’t as bad as it sounded
I feared you’d tell someone
I wondered if we could be friends
But then you were no more
Your charming smile
Your teasing nature
Your lanky height
Your freckles and red hair
Never knowing the maturity
I glimpsed in those few words you whispered
A teenage boy
Life cut short
Never knowing just how much
Your quiet words changed my life


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