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  Child Poet Mattie Stephanek Dies at Age 13

Mattie Stepanek, the child poet whose inspirational verse made him a best-selling writer and a prominent voice for muscular dystrophy sufferers, died Tuesday, June 22, 2004, of a rare form of the disease. He was age 13.

He had three wishes: Meet Jimmy Carter, talk to Oprah Winfrey, and to have his poems published. All of his wishes were granted. When asked why he chose these wishes instead a trip to Disney World,
he said "because they will last forever". He possessed wisdom far beyond his years and he is an inspiration to all peoples of the world.

By Mattie J.T. Stepanek

"People are now fighting about how our heartsongs are different, but they
don't need to be the same. … That's the beauty. We are a mosaic of gifts. Each of
us has our inner beauty no matter how we look," says Mattie. On September 11,
after learning about the terrorist attacks, Mattie wrote this poignant poem.

It was a dark day in America.
There was no Amazing Grace.
Freedom did not ring.
Tragedy attacked sky-high.
Fiery terror reigned.
Structures collapsed.
Red with blood, white with ash,
And out-of-the-sky blue.
As children trust elders,
Citizens find faith in leaders.
But all were blinded,
Shocked by the blasts.
Undefiable outrage.
Undeniable outpouring
Of support, even prayer,
Or at least moments of silence.
Church and State
Could not be separated.
A horrific blasting of events
With too few happy endings.
Can the children sleep
Safely in their beds tonight?
Can the citizens ever rest
Assured of national security again?
God, please, bless America…
And the rest of our earthly home.

September 11, 2001

© Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek

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