who passed away this week in Honolulu, Hawaii

Although there are a few who’ll grieve and mourn,
Who’ll celebrate his life and then move on,
The unexpected loss will be hard borne
By those who called him “Brother” and “My son.”

I knew him back when he was still a teen,
No longer just a boy, not yet a man,
But somewhere shy and awkward in-between;
A life adrift, as yet without a plan.

I spent a week with him in Mexico,
He helped to build a house while we were there.
He took a saw and wouldn’t take it slow,
He gave his all and did it with a flair!

At thirty-six, it seems surrealistic
To think he’s now a Covid death statistic.



James A. Tweedie is a retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He has written and published six novels, one collection of short stories, and three collections of poetry including Mostly Sonnets, all with Dunecrest Press. His poems have been published nationally and internationally in The Lyric, Poetry Salzburg (Austria) Review, California Quarterly, Asses of Parnassus, Lighten Up Online, Better than Starbucks, WestWard Quarterly, Society of Classical Poets, and The Chained Muse.

NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

CODEC Stories:

9 Responses

  1. Brian Yapko

    James, this is a beautifully-crafted sonnet on a very sad subject with a final couplet that carries a devastating emotional wallop. The poetic tribute you’ve given Sean is deep and meaningful. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

  2. Margaret Coats

    As long as Sean Howard is held in loving memory by family and friends–and especially in the sight of God–he will always be more than a statistic. And so he is in your memorial poem, James. It reminds us to think beyond the statistics about the eternal value of each soul. May he rest in peace.

    • James A . Tweedie

      Margaret, You caught my intent perfectly. They are a Christian family in the full sense of that term. And Sean is anything but a statistic to God or to me. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth.’” “Yea,” saith the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.”
      Rev. 14:13

  3. Damian Robin

    Thanks for sharing your friendship, Jim. Sean must have felt it. The last couplet seemed oddly jokey at first but does show the unfathomability of the facts of life and death.

    • James A. Tweedie


      I wrote the couplet to contrast the human loss of an actual human being with the tendency of the media, science, federal, state and local governments and various groups to frame and reduce the progress of the pandemic to impersonal facts, figures, graphs and related data. The couplet is intended to reflect and evoke the same irony as the novel title, “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Thanks for taking the time to read The poem and for leaving a comment.

  4. Paul Freeman

    There is a danger, with such large numbers, of the people behind the figures getting lost.

    You’ve done Sean Howard proud, James.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.