Sunday, May 13, 2018

a good man is gone

Welton Clayton, Loss

away from me, within the institutionalized care
we sort of give to those hurting,
those without the safety nets
privilege slips under many of us,
my friend, my buddy, Welton Clayton,
slept, and slipped away,
without my even quite realizing it,
till I checked my voice mail
and heard just the rawness of the change,
the message from two days before,
the service a day ago,

my friend, my buddy, is now already in the ground,
next to Ida, his wife, in the cemetery of her church,
Welton’s garden is now in weeds,
just like all of us who knew and loved him,
not quite sure of how to be
without the cultivation of his spirit,
all the growths of our individual lives
holding our attention,
I miss Welton’s clarity, the power of his caring,
the sureness of his self,
as he had to deal with ridiculous people,
with a world that often did not know him the way we did,

Welton had common sense,
a trueness of who people are,
Welton had a heart that loved to give:
his time, his help, his vegetables,
a concrete way to say what his words often could not say,
Welton was a good man,
a good friend who loved to do for you,
a man who did not suffer fools gladly,
and to be an African-American man,
even in the twenty-first century,
had the fools closer than he would like,

Welton’s story is fascinating:
a good person who had to deal with a world
that could have trouble seeing him truly.

by Henry H. Walker
May 11, ‘18

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