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24 Words

A couple of days ago I wrote about a Young Writer’s Workshop I attended when I was in high school… Grade 10 to be precise. It was held in what had formerly been Belvedere Central High School which, coincidentally, had in years previous been the orphanage where my father’s mother (Nan Barron) had resided after her parents’ deaths.

Students who attended the workshop were selected based on poems they had written and submitted. I don’t remember the date of the workshop or any details. But I do remember the feelings of intense excitement and possibility I experienced throughout the day, especially during the Cassie Brown session. I also remember the poem I wrote that earned me my spot. In fact, I can still recite it from memory. All 24 words.

Setting aside any ‘in retrospect’ critique or explanations of the intended meaning behind the simple words, I suspect the ability to remember it with such clarity underscores the significance of that day to me. The poem never had a title, but here it is. All 24 words:

The sound
of the surf
was the
only thing
he understood.
When it was
taken from him
he died.
Just as a fish would.