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Black Eyes and Gold Gloves
by Marilyn Schnepp 
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(My alternate story for Challenge Contest Fire-Fighter)

Johnny O'Keefe
Was a sweet little lad,
A joy to his mother
And the pride of his Dad.

But that sweet little boy
Seemed to change overnight
When he started to school
And learned how to fight.

Every day he'd come home
With tattered clothes,
A big black eye
And a bloody nose.

His mother would plead,
"Johnny, please don't fight!"
Then she'd bandage his 'hurts'
And hug him tight.

"But, Mama", he'd say,
"I've got to be me,
I want to be a fighter
Like Muhammad Ali."

Well, twelve years later
At the Madison Square,
He won his Golden Gloves
At the Championship there!

Then he got married
To his sweetheart Sue;
And became a fire-fighter,
And the father of two.

His father and mother
Were ever so proud,
That NOW his black eyes
Came from soot in a cloud.

But then came September
Two thousand and one;
On the most terrible day
Under planet Earth's sun.

When Johnny, the firefighter,
Kicked in a door;
And dashed up a stairwell
To the twenty first floor.

Then an Angel flew down
And hugged Johnny tight:
Like his mother used to do
When he'd lost a fight!

Then he cradled her Johnny
Under one silver wing...
And flew him to heaven
To meet the True King.

And at Madison Square Garden,
There hangs a black wreath;
"In Memory of our Champion,
John Harley O'Keefe."

If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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Member Comments
Member Date
Edy T Johnson  25 Nov 2007
Hi Friend, I know I've already left a comment on this poem of yours, but I'm so fond of it, and the title jumps off the page begging for another read. I just came calling to thank you for taking part of your holiday time to leave a comment on my "Thanks Living" article. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. God bless you!
Verna Cole Mitchell  05 Feb 2007
Just wonderful! A great tribute to all the firefighters on that terrible day.
Ann FitzHenry 21 Oct 2006
Wow! Just beautiful. I loved the image of the angel swooping down. Yes, I agree with the others. This needs to be shared with readers beyond Faith Writers. Great work!
william price 17 Oct 2006
Excellent job Marilyn!!!! My interest in the story line flowed right along with the meter in the poem. It was an effortless, enjoyable read. Very sad, but I left feeling proud of the MC. I think this poem needs to be shared with more than just us here at FW. God bless.
Kaylee Blake  13 Oct 2006
Beautiful. I'm being selfish when I say that this not being in the WC gives my story a better chance at placing. ;) I too stumbled a little in the line "to meet his king" and there were a few other touchy spots, but don't changfe the message! It was a great entry, brought tears to my eyes. Wonderful job.
Trina Courtenay 13 Oct 2006
Wow, this was wonderfully written. I enjoyed reading this and have added it to my fav's list!
David Story 13 Oct 2006
Took my breath away. Thank you, MariLyn.
Kevin Kindrick 12 Oct 2006
Powerful - Truly Powerful. Thanks, and God bless, Kevin
WENDY DECKER 12 Oct 2006
Although, sad, an excellent poem. Your rhythm and meter flowed effortlessly. Very nice job.
Catrina Bradley  12 Oct 2006
Wow! Very good! I coudn't find any thing to critique, but since you asked for "harsh" .... on my eight read (honestly, it touched me that much) I noticed one line that might need another word for meter's sake: "to meet his King." I'm thinking, maybe "his true King"? Dunno. I recognized that you are alluding to his hero-worship of Ali when he was a child, so I wouldn't want you to mess that up. Ok, now I just HAVEto read it again. Loved it! :)
Sara Harricharan  12 Oct 2006
This was beautiful. I couldn't find a whole lot that I'd like to change other than-as mentioned before, adding an extra word to the line "to meet his king" Great job!. The title is catchy too.
Edy T Johnson  12 Oct 2006
I love poems that tell a story. This one reminds me of Eugene Field's "Little Boy Blue" (which I cannot read with dry eyes). [For those "short-changed" lines, my poetry-writing "secret" is to count syllables to keep the cadence smooth throughout the poem (ie: -' -' -' -' -' or '-- '-- '-- ') (smile).] This is a great entry for the WC topic!
Cassie Memmer 12 Oct 2006
Poignant and delightful. Beautiful job. That's about as harsh as I can get, Marilyn. :o) It's really a wonderful poem.


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