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Passions in Poetry

Abraham, Martin & John

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Balladeer
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0 posted 02-06-2000 07:16 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer


( My apologies to anyone not familiar with the song )

It's time to tell my story. It's been held in way too long
About a skinny, gangling kid who sang a haunting song.
I know that it won't be believed…It seems a fantasy
But I just have to write it down, if only just for me.

I was a high-school teacher in a small, mid-western school
Where values still meant something and folks lived the Golden Rule.
The football team was average and the school band played off-key
But there was not another spot on earth I'd rather be.

We held a little talent show in May of '63
Where students sang or danced or showed some small ability.
The afternoon was going well. The students were quite good
And then, upon the small school stage, Tom Merriweather stood.

I must admit I was surprised to see him standing there
In faded Levis, tennis shoes and long, unruly hair.
He had few friends to speak of 'cause he hardly ever spoke.
Kids laughed at him and treated him as if he were a joke.

But there he stood on center stage, the small mic in his hands.
I screamed out (in my Teacher voice) for silence from the stands.
Then he began to sing the strangest song I'd ever heard
And, to this day, my mind recalls the impact of each word.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He freed a lot of people
But it seems the good die young,
But I just looked around and he's gone.


He went through several stanzas, mentioned other people's names
The audience lost interest and went back to childish games,
But I stood there, transfixed, as if my world had gone awry
By those strange words from that young boy with sadness in his eye.

When the talent show was over and the school gym emptied out
I had to ask young Tommy what that song was all about.
I saw him walking by toward the exit down the hall.
I took the young boy by the arm and stood against the wall.

"Hey, Tommy. That was quite a song", I smiled as best I could.
"I'd like to ask you to explain its meaning, if you would.
Abraham was Lincoln. Of that, I have little doubt
But who were all those other names I heard you sing about?"

The skinny boy looked at me and he said, "John Kennedy -
Killed in Dallas in november, 1963.
Martin Luther King, the next in line to meet his fate,
Killed in Memphis, April 4th of 1968."

"But, Tommy," here I tried to smile, "I mean, how can this be?
In case you hadn't noticed, this is May of '63!
Is this some sort of fantasy, imagination wild,
Or can you tell the future?" Here I winked an eye and smiled.

The small boy raised his eyes. His glance pinned me against the wall.
The hall was full of kids. I barely noticed them at all.
His eyes bore right into my soul.I felt a winter chill,
Reality forsook me as if forced against its will.

He turned around then, walked away and left me rather shook,
My mind still reeling from the path our conversation took.
"You mentioned Bobby!", I called out. "So who was Bobby then?"
But Tommy turned the corner and we never talked again.

A few days later I erased the whole thing from my mind,
Just passed it off as foolishness and left it far behind.
School graduation came and went, the summer quickly passed,
The registration and a brand new school year came at last.

My thoughts were of the weather and Thanksgiving and the lot
When news came on the radio that Kennedy was shot.
The cold chill that shot through me was not due to bleak November,
But from the image in my mind that I could still remember.

Has anybody here seen my old friend John?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good die young,
But I just looked around and he's gone.


I looked for Tommy everywhere. I checked the Records Hall,
But it was if that skinny lad did not exist at all.
He'd graduated, went his way and could be anyplace.
Although I searched quite thoroughly, I couldn't find a trace.

It had to be coincidence! That young boy could not know
That Kennedy would be shot down - a lucky guess!- although
It made my nerves quite ragged and it filled my mind with doubt
Of how that boy knew things that he could not know things about.

The next four years were quite uneasy - I had marked the date
The young boy spoke of - April 4th of 1968,
Then heard the news on radio in Memphis, Tennessee
That Martin Luther King had been shot on his balcony.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He freed a lot of people,
But it seems the good die young,
But I just looked around and he's gone.


So here I sit, just two months later, June sun overhead,
Teardrops fall on paper from the headlines I just read.
My question has been finally answered, I am sad to say…
Bobby Kennedy shot to death last evening in L.A.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby?
Can you tell me where he's gone?


So that's the story. Now I have the whole thing written down.
I'll send it to a friend of mine I used to know in town.
I've heard he's made a song or two and has a good voice, too
So, Dion, take it if you want and see what you can do.

And, Tommy, don't know where you are or who you were back then,
Nor do I know if I will ever see your likes again,
But, thank you son, for what you shared before you traveled on
And, when you reach your final stop, please say hello to John.

I thought I saw him walkin'
Up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John.






[This message has been edited by Balladeer (edited 02-06-2000).]
© Copyright 2000 Michael Mack - All Rights Reserved
SEA
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with you


1 posted 02-06-2000 07:27 PM       View Profile for SEA   Email SEA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for SEA

Balladeer, you are so amazing. This gave me chills. I am not familiar with the song,but this still had quite an impact on me. I'm so glad you shared this. -SEA
Marge Tindal
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2 posted 02-06-2000 07:29 PM       View Profile for Marge Tindal   Email Marge Tindal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marge Tindal's Home Page   View IP for Marge Tindal

Michael-
Tears flowing as I join you in song.
What a most wonderful story you've told here.
No room for laughter ... just admiring awe.

What a loving, feeling piece you've written.
Thank you, Michael, for your 'vision'.
I love you for your tenderness
and your talent.
~*Marge*~


 ~*The pen of the poet never runs out of ink, as long as we breathe.*~
noles1@totcon.com


Poet deVine
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3 posted 02-06-2000 07:32 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

I am stunned by the brilliance of this! Can't think of one thing to say except this is one of your best...and to say that..well, it's amazing...........
catwomen
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since 02-05-2000
Posts 49


4 posted 02-06-2000 08:09 PM       View Profile for catwomen   Email catwomen   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for catwomen

Tears filled my eyes as I read this, the hair on my arms is raised. You sent chills up my spine . This is excellent, you really have a way with words

 
Isis
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since 09-06-99
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Sunny Queensland


5 posted 02-06-2000 08:32 PM       View Profile for Isis   Email Isis   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Isis's Home Page   View IP for Isis

You gave me chills too my friend.  I love this visionary way the whole peice was written.  I almost want to ask was this guy real?  Perfect my friend..  
*smooch*  I too love your tender heart and soul  

 Let your heart guide you. It whispers, so listen closely.
~Isis~
(Sovereign of the Spirit)


Balladeer
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6 posted 02-06-2000 09:06 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Sea...Thank you. Check the song out when you get a chance. You'll like it.

Marge...Your words mean so much to me. It's not possible to thank you enough....but I'll keep trying  

DeVine one...words like that from you are rewarding enough to make it all worthwhile. Thank you.

catwomen...I've always wanted to have that effect on someone! Thank you for letting my poetry do it  

Isis....you always know the right thing to say. Thank you, sweetheart.
Nan
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7 posted 02-06-2000 09:07 PM       View Profile for Nan   Email Nan   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nan's Home Page   View IP for Nan

This is sooooo exceptional, my Deer....
You make me proud to call you my friend...
Those were some pretty intense years, and you've captured them perfectly...
Awesome - simply awesome!

Munda
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since 10-08-1999
Posts 3629
The Hague, The Netherlands


8 posted 02-06-2000 09:17 PM       View Profile for Munda   Email Munda   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Munda's Home Page   View IP for Munda

For once this Dutchie can't find the words to express herself in English, so I'll keep it simple....a great poem Balladeer !
Pepper
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since 08-19-99
Posts 3134
Southern Florida

Official Passions Reader
9 posted 02-06-2000 09:19 PM       View Profile for Pepper   Email Pepper   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Pepper

This is ...(it's really hard to find
the right words to describe this piece
'Deer)....writing at its best..
The emotions your poem evokes are
strong; and I agree with the chills and raising of hair....
Wonderful!!!!
I applaud you Sir...

 A soul that writes from the heart and shares it, truly gives a gift extraordinaire!
Shannon





poetry_kills
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since 12-04-1999
Posts 552
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10 posted 02-06-2000 09:20 PM       View Profile for poetry_kills   Email poetry_kills   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit poetry_kills's Home Page   View IP for poetry_kills

balladeer: this is enchanting... i always look forward to reading your stories... they're all so very captivating  

sincerely,
jerome the boy with no brain

 A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
~Coleridge

Martie
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11 posted 02-06-2000 09:50 PM       View Profile for Martie   Email Martie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Martie's Home Page   View IP for Martie

Wow!!!  This left me with no words (that's a good thing)
Balladeer
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12 posted 02-06-2000 09:54 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Nan....that pride in friendship goes both ways. Thank you.

Munda...sometimes no words can say a lot. I thank you very much.  

Pepper..just knowing you is a hair-raising event!!! Thanks for such wonderful praise       

poetry_kills...when I can captivate a boy with no brain, I must be doing something right     Thanks! I really appreciate your words.

Martie...yes it is.....and I thank you for it.

[This message has been edited by Balladeer (edited 02-06-2000).]
Breathe~
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13 posted 02-06-2000 09:56 PM       View Profile for Breathe~   Email Breathe~   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Breathe~

My hair is standing up...

That was an incredible story!  Not to mention incredible style..Wow!


 Freedom of expression is the watch word...
Elizabeth Santos
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since 11-08-1999
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14 posted 02-06-2000 09:57 PM       View Profile for Elizabeth Santos   Email Elizabeth Santos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Elizabeth Santos

Mr. Balladeer,
I read this poem, and quickly wrote The Day of the Senator. I had forgotten all about this, and your poem reminded me of those times.Wonderful, wonderful poem you wrote
Liz
WhtDove
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15 posted 02-06-2000 10:06 PM       View Profile for WhtDove   Email WhtDove   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit WhtDove's Home Page   View IP for WhtDove

Brilliance dear Balladeer!  

 <*\\\><

When you can't make up your mind
Which way is right for you,
Stop and softly ask yourself,
What Would Jesus Do?
Seymour Tabin
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since 07-07-99
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Tamarac Fla


16 posted 02-06-2000 10:27 PM       View Profile for Seymour Tabin   Email Seymour Tabin   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Seymour Tabin

Balladeer,
I know your abilities so all I can say is Bravo once again.
Denise
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17 posted 02-07-2000 12:02 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Your words have the power to take me right into the story. What a talent you have. Excellent piece, Balladeer.

Denise
Sally S.
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18 posted 02-07-2000 12:06 AM       View Profile for Sally S.   Email Sally S.   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Sally S.

How could my admiration for you possibly grow any stronger?  It's a brilliant song...and an equally (if not more so) poem.  This style is my favorite of yours.  'Tis why I call you "Master Storyteller."
Love ya, Sally
devina
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Northern Cali


19 posted 02-07-2000 01:16 AM       View Profile for devina   Email devina   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for devina

This was far more than great Micheal...it was emotional and very stirring....I never know if I'm going to laugh or cry when I read your poems...but this one definantly touched my heart!!!!!

 Open arms can be the most fragile in the world...
Alicat
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Coastal Texas


20 posted 02-07-2000 06:19 AM       View Profile for Alicat   Email Alicat   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Alicat

I'm very familiar with the song, although I wasn't alive when the events transpired.  And I must echo the others in the chills this reading brought me.  Balladeer..all I can really say, inadequate as it may be, is WOW!

Alicat, the awed Persnikitty

[This message has been edited by Alicat (edited 02-07-2000).]
suthern
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on the threshold of a dream


21 posted 02-07-2000 07:33 AM       View Profile for suthern   Email suthern   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for suthern

The song always makes me cry... so I knew I was in trouble when I read the title of this poem. *G* Dammit, Balladeer... you need to post a kleenex/hanky scale with some of your poems... this is at least a 3 hanky one. *S*

If such foresight existed
And events had been altered
Would we still remember and wish?
Or would they have faltered
To a disappointing
Footnote of history
Without the "could have beens"
That are our memories?

[This message has been edited by suthern (edited 02-07-2000).]
HelmutB
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22 posted 02-07-2000 08:43 AM       View Profile for HelmutB   Email HelmutB   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit HelmutB's Home Page   View IP for HelmutB

An amazing story Balladeer
Hard to believe but yet your words so clear
Excuse my fast reply, I am at work right know
But know that I have read the poem
and my lips still hanging on to WOW
I have to go, you know I hate to go
I'm so glad I met a man like you

Ps It's realy special what you have done there and I hope that this will be a song.

Sorry gotta run

 The ability to describe life with words is similar to painting a picture; both can be powerful tools.

hoot_owl_rn
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since 07-05-99
Posts 11105
Glen Hope, PA USA


23 posted 02-07-2000 10:38 AM       View Profile for hoot_owl_rn   Email hoot_owl_rn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit hoot_owl_rn's Home Page   View IP for hoot_owl_rn

Balladeer....wow, the time and effort you spent on this one is very evident. Wonderfully done my friend  
Mistikman
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since 01-10-2000
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San Jose, CA, USA


24 posted 02-07-2000 10:47 AM       View Profile for Mistikman   Email Mistikman   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mistikman

Looks im kinda late to this thread, but I have to say, wonderful work Balladeer. Although I never lived through this period of history, this poem was chilling and gave me goosebumps   -Travis

 I am not a poet, I am merely one who speaks in emotion
 
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