sometimes things are not as they seem. i met william in a nondescript park setting many years ago while handing out bologna and cheese sandwiches to those who had no bologna and cheese sandwiches. he was grateful. i was inspired. thank you william.




his notepad was wet and stained
from tear drops and blowing rain
still void of words he wished to someday say
the lead in his pencil was dull and round
no longer making that scratching sound
because life and loss had gotten in his way
he had circled around life one day at a time
with poetry and music blending in his head
but now, for weeks on end nothing would rhyme
and the sound of the music was dead
one day he crawled beneath the park bench
a place he had for so long called his home
with his blunt pencil he scribbled lines of feeling so alone

his final lines became his epitaph
to be spoken in the little non-denominational church
by the lakeside park and winding path

“i asked for little
and i got the same
but more little than i knew you had

please remember when i tell you
that the gap between little and nothing
left me with nothing from the little you had

i was left with fewer words than you could ever know
so please never let another poet die
before it’s his time to go”

the pastor closed his book and looked to the gathered few
most of whom knew only the man’s name
and of the tedious tasks he could do

to each was given a folded paper
as the pastor continued to speak

“this folded paper you have been given
is from william, his last work when he was living

you see, william felt he had a terrible stain
and now asks whether you or i can do more
to help lonely poets who die in the rain

with dull pencils and wet pads
he made these lines from his heart
and each was signed with sincerity on his part

those who had gathered were surprised
and when they unfolded the pieces of paper
tears welled in their eyes

“william spoke his epitaph to me”, the pastor explained
“for you see, this poet whose thoughts you have all heard
yearned to write not just lines but even real words
but all he could manage were scribbles and tears
an illiterate man, he told no one all through the years
so, when you think of this man and the words you desired
remember his lines and how your hearts were inspired


to william:
a man of few words
yet none