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Poet Daniel Johnson Composes an Elegy for ‘Dear Friend’ James Foley

James Foley has featured in a poem published in the Academy of American Poets. However, this is a work which neither he would have liked to feature, nor would the poet, James Foley’s old friend have wanted to ever compose. The said composition is “In the absence of sparrows” an elegy composed by Daniel Johnson in memory of his slain journalist friend James Foley who was brutally killed two weeks ago by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.

James Foley was a freelance reporter who shot into the international news a few weeks ago after being kidnapped by the ISIS. The latter would later behead him in a video and earn worldwide condemnation. Foley was a journalist who took exceptional risks to report from the troubled areas of Syria overrun by the ISIS. This elegy is one of the more touching and heart wrenching ones coming over the past couple of weeks. In fact, Johnson had been composing the poem ever since the news of his captivity in Syria arrived.

James Foley and Daniel Johnson were friends for the past two decades. The two met sometime in the 1990s when they started working for ‘Teach for America.’ Johnson remarked that it was the common love for books that brought him closer to James Foley. Both of them would later go on to have writing careers. While Johnson became a poet, James Foley became a journalist who has always been on the hunt for reporting in troubled areas.

James Foley Images

James Foley was earlier captured in Libya a few years ago when Libya was going through massive protests and a civil war. However, he was later able to successfully return from captivity. “In the absence of sparrows” also contains the great theme of coming back – of hope.

While James Foley will never return, he would live on in the memories of the many friends he had and the thousands more whom he has inspired.

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