Joe Jencks

play The Ballad of JeShawn 4:33

from The Candle And The Flame

This is a song based on a real event that happened in Cincinnati. The young man in this song was the student of one of my sisters. He was a Golden Gloves boxing champion and an upstanding fellow. He was respected by his peers, and had a promising future. The local media did not cover his untimely passing in any significant way. I felt like JeShawn deserved a fitting tribute. I hope this song really honors the courage of his life. The beauty and tragedy rolled into one. Thanks to Jean and Julie and to all the educators who work so diligently to nurture and to inspire the next generations. JeShawn lives on in every student you welcome into your classrooms and into your hearts!

JeShawn Johnson grew up
In a world of stone and steel
Where the neighborhoods have edges that are rough
And the monsters of our childhood are real
He had his problems in the classroom
But he always gave his best
When he put on his gloves and stepped into the ring
It was clear he was a notch above the rest
In Cincinnati

JeShawn's father was his trainer
And they made quite a team
His parents' house was full of trophies and awards
Like a private hall of fame a tribute to a dream
He was invited to try out for the Olympic summer games
Everybody knew this was his ticket out
And his life would never be the same
In Cincinnati

JeShawn would never box outside the ring
For he knew it was not right
Even pushed into a corner
When some other young men wanted him to fight
He tried to turn away from their jealousy and rage but they attacked
They cursed him and beat him
One of them pulled out a gun and shot him in the back
In Cincinnati

The medics did their best to save JeShawn
But his spirit slipped away
And we wonder where God's mercy goes
When there's children killing children every day
But the papers did not print a word about
The promise of the young life that was lost
All they could say was JeShawn was the twenty-first murder of the year
In Cincinnati

The minister said it is not how long
We dance our feet upon this earth
But how pure is our soul when we leave
That's the measure of our worth
And JeShawn was pure if we honor him
Then we must not be afraid to feel the loss
Like the flower that blooms in the early spring
Takes a chance that there still might be a frost
In Cincinnati
In Cincinnati

copyright 2007 Joe Jencks

updated: 8 years ago