Incremental Poetry ~ 76 Lines

I Didn’t Know

I moved back home a year ago
with very little cash to blow,
and one thing that I didn’t know—
my friend was there.

Right off the bat, I found some work
that came with quite a prudent perk,
for plastered with a silly smirk,
my friend was there.

At first I didn’t know his name.
Of how he’d gained such high acclaim
I took no note, but just the same,
my friend was there.

With guys I gathered, just a few;
we had a drink, or maybe two,
and laughter at the table grew.
My friend was there.

I quickly learned that when in need,
I didn’t have to beg or plead;
to offer help or intercede,
my friend was there.

At work we faced a problem piece,
our busted knuckles grimed with grease;
then, come to lend his expertise,
my friend was there.

And when my head was in a whirl
because of trouble with my girl,
a present help to folds unfurl,
my friend was there.

Relationship with other friend
if not made right, seemed doomed to end;
but just in time, with hand to lend,
my friend was there.

When to ER I went because
an injury needed more than gauze,
as faithful as he ever was,
my friend was there.

One day my drive to work was stalled
by twisted metal pieces sprawled.
I didn’t know till someone called:
my friend was there.

To think that I had driven by
and thought of him, but wondered why,
I suddenly began to cry—
my friend was there.

That night, upon the evening news,
I witnessed the horrific views
at the crossing of two avenues:
my friend was there.

I drove back to that awful block
where time stood still upon the clock,
and I stood still benumbed by shock—
my friend was there.

One day went by, and then the next,
while waiting for my friend to text;
though in denial, I was vexed—
my friend was there.

“I should have stopped!” Now bathed in guilt,
to others I my grieving spilt,
for I too had begun to wilt—
my friend was there.

“It isn’t fair!” I cried aloud.
“He needed me, but I was proud,
too proud to stop and join the crowd—
my friend was there.”

They tried hard to disguise his wound.
To see him, strangely, was a boon;
asleep within his wood cocoon,
my friend was there.

We gathered round while hours chimed
and shared our tales of him. Now I’m
remembering every single time
my friend was there.

My face relearned through tears to smile,
For death and life must reconcile;
and now I know that all the while
my Friend was there.


Copyright © 2021 Abigail Gronway – All Rights Reserved

This poem was written about my son’s recent tragic loss, from his perspective. His friend Josh (19) was killed last week in a motorcycle accident. My son drove by the scene on his way to work, but had no idea at the time that his friend was lying there. They had just spoken the day before, and it was hard to imagine that he was gone. I live hundreds of miles away, so I couldn’t give him a hug, but I could give him an ear. His dad and I have talked to Bobby a lot the last several days, and we’ve heard nothing but good about his friend Josh.

The last stanza is the clincher. We can offer comfort, but our comfort can only go so far. We are comforted in knowing that Bobby has a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Should my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.

Psalm 27:10

Welcome to my series, Incremental Poetry, where each week the featured poem will be one line longer than the one I share the week before. I have no idea how long I’ll keep this up, so we’ll just have to wait and see. Thank you for stopping by.

Scansion:
English Ballet

The English Ballet (BAL-let) is stanzaic, with any number of quatrains or quintains.
Normally appearing as a series of quatrains, it may be written as a quintain by dividing Line 1 of the quatrain. Regardless of stanza length, it is written in iambic rhythm.

Quatrain form:
Rhythm: iambic (i.e. cam-PAIGN)
Meter: L1, L2, L3 = tetrameter; L4 = dimeter
Syllabic structure: 8-8-8-4
Rhyme scheme: aaaB cccB dddB, etc., where B is a repeated refrain

Quintain form:
Rhythm: iambic (i.e. e-NOUGH)
Meter: L1, L2, L5 = dimeter; L3, L4 = tetrameter
Syllabic structure: 4-4-8-8-4
Rhyme scheme: AbbbA AcccA AdddA, etc., where A is a repeated refrain


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