Voices on the Wind
Voices in Tribute
*For Those They Left Behind
November nineteen seventy, a loss
and long flight home through murky skies of rain.
The boys of gridiron, coaches, fans, sat back
to mask defeat in silent dismal dark.
Some failed to make the flight for causes yet
to question why. When those aboard lit up
the night, the runway never reached, their lives
cut short, a plane reduced to ash, a town
brought to its knees. Relentless sirens screamed
the pain and grief, the smell of death so close
it tolled of disbelief. No earthquake wave
moved through the night, no raging storm or wind;
but fiendish fingers strummed its violin
and fate played on while green bled into red.
The mourning stretched from days to weeks. Some we
never knew, and laid to rest together where
the living viewed eternally the souls
who left that night. It started with a plaque,
evolved into memorials only
those men and women could come back to fill.
Unlike the bird of myth and lore, return
to life would never be. “The dead must be
revered,” the voices from the crowd called out.
And so the path was laid with memories
for stones. Small steps then giant strides began
as fifty yards stretched into forty years.
And like the Phoenix rose, not golden wings,
but helmets dressed with seven five, and wins
to fill the dreams in green and white. Their song
echoed across the hills, triumphant days
returned, and with success, for one more time
the fountain was turned off. But through the night
a light appeared, emerging from inside
to warm the hearts of those they left behind.
*Written in iambic pentameter for the 45th Anniversary
of the Marshall University Plane Crash, November 1970.