I once knew a quiet boy -
a shadow of a person, I thought,
with a whisper of a voice.

He kept to the side in case he caught
your eye by accident, and had to join in
dreaded conversation.
If he did talk, it was thin
and uncertain, and with the odd backward glance
over his shoulder. "When he is older,"
we would say, "he hasn't got a chance."

Then he picked up a guitar.

And the shadows shaped a soul
I never knew existed. Masterfully,
he twisted and turned the notes and tone
as if it was a science - easy as an alphabet -
A-B-C; one, two, three; he left me
speechless, as he had once been,
before he found his voice in the strings,
and he tamed and trained the guitar to sing
the soul I never knew he had.