John Franklin Ziebell

Rookie - 5 Points (May 17 1971 / Milford, Ct.)

I Am. - Poem by John Franklin Ziebell

I AM your father,
I AM your mother,
I AM your sister,
I AM your brother,
I AM everyone you have ever known,
I AM everyone you will ever meet.
I AM just another voice in the crowd needing to be heard,
But still,

Poet's Notes about The Poem

I was 37 yrs. Old when I wrote this poem, without pen or paper, written in my mind as I sat alone and naked in a cell, a cell I earned by committing another robbery the year before and then trying to end my life. I was given a 5 year sentence and I wanted to die, (not that prison was anything new or hard) , I was just tired of it all, nothing ever changed, especially me. Everything always stayed the same, failure, poor decisions, controlled by vice and sin, day after day, year after year, until then. At that moment, in that place, the lord showed me how to love him, in one simple act of kindness for someone else. There was an inmate next to me in the adjacent cell and as I heard him crying, I was presented with a choice, a choice that would change my life forever, you see, it was as if this man had the mind of a small child. He would cry out in terror because he was afraid of the dark and would see monsters in the cell with him every night. All the other inmates, even the guards were tormenting him, in some sort of sick entertainment. I could not stop them, so I tried to console him. There was a vent in the wall separating our cells that allowed air to freely flow through them. We spoke of silly things at first, like his favorite cartoon and foods he liked. The distraction seemed to work and soon after I could hear him sleeping. I began to pray and repent. I asked Heavenly Father to forgive my unrighteousness that brought me to where I was and allow me to apply the atonement in my life from that day forward. A feeling of complete peace came over me and direction of teachings I had learned in the past become absolute, I knew in that moment, that to love Heavenly father I must keep his commandments, I knew that somehow by stepping outside of my miserable existence for this other human being in the next cell I was able to receive the holy spirit that had been closed off from my life. I stayed up the entire night, praying and remembering scripture that had been lost to me only the day before. I wrote the poem in my mind and remained in awe of the Lord and all his wonder.
The Next morning came and I was eager to see the doctor in order to be discharged from the hospital wing of the prison, but before this happened, two guards came and opened the cell next to me, and my new friend was being transferred to a state hospital that would provide for his needs. While leaving his cell, one of the guards commented that he was quiet last night and did not cry. It was then that my friend told them that I had shown a flash light into his cell all night long from the vent.
I do not pretend to understand this. I can only testify that the poem and account are true. I was released from prison in 2009 and have not been arrested since. My Bishop helped me with the repentance process, something that I have learned to do naturally, repent, and take sacrament to remember my Baptismal covenant. I am so grateful for the atonement and to heavenly father for his plan of salvation. I look for opportunities to serve in any way I can, it is in this that I feel the love of God the most. Mosiah 2- 17 ……. when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God.'
I AM my brother's keeper

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Poem Submitted: Monday, January 28, 2013

Poem Edited: Monday, January 28, 2013

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