Friday, May 14, 2010

An Empty Chair

I return from my little lapse in blogging, Semester-From-Hell ended, just in time for the commencement of graduates. It’s a funny occasion. All Pomp and Circumstance and a few long boring speeches and cheers and then waltz outside for a photo opportunity with parents and siblings, go party or whatever, and then move on, and forget the past four years. Another chapter completed. One door closes, one door opens. I myself am halfway there!

I wrote the following poem when I was 13 years old; I have seldom written poetry since. I’m no Whitman or Keats, let’s put it that way, but this one little piece, for some reason, sticks out as the highlight of my poetic literary achievements. I penned it to commemorate and lament the high school graduation of a friend of mine, and her subsequent departure from the concert band we both enjoyed. Now, as I prepare to watch some new(er) friends graduate from college, the words of my younger self rise and beg to be remembered:

We sat with horns to lips and eyes ahead
As the magical scene before us unfolded
And we watched, caught in the joy of the moment
A single day to be cherished for a lifetime
And yet with bittersweet regret
There was a silent lonely place
Amidst us all
Its hapless grace
Was all alone:
An empty chair

We could see him sitting in the ranks
Of all the young who met their future that day
Who thought, or joked, or cried, or prayed
All present there, waiting their turn
But as the bold, brassy music we played
There was a quiet spot
All but forlorn
Left there, forgot:
A vacant chair

And loudly
Pomp and Circumstance we played
Our tapping feet and blissful smiles belied
That inside we laughed and cried
As we watched them step up to receive
An honor, yet
Our eyes wandered
To the left
That forgotten token:
That empty chair

We lost them that day, and they left us behind
They went forth, for futures must be made!
Their diplomas taken, and new levels reached
But remembered the band where memories were made!
Sorrowfully we watched them go
The five seniors
And five seats
Unoccupied there:
Five vacant chairs

One day the rest of us will follow them, away
We too shall proudly step up to take the honor
And go forth into our worldly conquest
Our destinies to find; our futures to mold
And leave behind us memories and friends
Who sadly gaze
At the lonely spots
We have forgot:
Our empty chairs

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