The Missing Poet (For Alex Humphrey)

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Sundered alone in the dawning grey
You would have found it a poetic irony
When you were laid out to face the ocean
To be carried away in a wordless suspension
And baptised silently by the waves.

Departing Panama only a few days
After you arrived at your hostel
Like a river crossing warrior in your sandals
Your smile hiding a welcome escape
For what awaited when you came home.

Of course, however, you never came back
Disappearing after only a few days
Leaving clues all over your room
Your wardrobe and your bed
Devoured in an unsolved mystery.

Breaking your neck
Rumours unofficially claim
Falling off a van a few miles out
Plaited in tragedy in seconds
And the panic of a terrified driver

Casting out a shaken plea
All the way down to the ocean
Sundered alone in the dawning grey
Dead within seconds of falling off that van
And laid into the waves like a feather
Coaxing from the ocean a mark of respect.

Leaving the truth as a matter of rumours
Nerves as sunken ships into the hinterland of dreams
Octaves into tears over the tip of the dawn
And words that cannot do you justice on stage
Even now with your own words.

(Alex Humphrey, aged 29, a care worker and poet / performer from Stockport, Cheshire (and dear friend of mine) went missing in Panama in August 2009, one week into a three week holiday. Despite several police searches, a Panamanian media campaign and the offer of a $5,000 (£3,000) reward, no clues to his whereabouts have emerged)


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keith jeffries

Sun 16th Sep 2018 11:00

I have only just come across this poem, this heartfelt tribute to a friend. The words took me on a quest. This is an extraordinary eulogy, rich in sentiment. Thank you.

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Andy N

Sat 18th Aug 2018 19:49

thanks Kate. Alex is / was a amazing poet. A strict one off as a person / performer.

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Kate G

Fri 17th Aug 2018 23:38

What a wonderful tribute Andy - a touching outpouring of words, in memory of a friend.

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