A Sunday Afternoon Poem

"Ode To Todd: Our Island's Shining Light" - a poem for Todd Follansbee, who died suddenly this weekend, by William Waterway

we “miss” the face of your bright light
as your spirit shines across our island

so good to share time with you and friends
at Gay Head Light - Blue Moon celebration

on top of the lighthouse - you called
for me to stand beside you
looking out to sea over clay cliffs
handing me your binoculars - pointing at
distant beach 
with twinkling eyes, nudge, and big laugh
“Look, William, two rare breeding birds!”

that was Todd
a 1969 MVRHS graduate
himself a rare breed
who was voted into the Top Ten Web Designers
of the Northeast by “Entrepreneur” magazine

in his “Blogger” post, Todd wrote:
“I love to learn and explore. As a 'child of the sixties'
we revere irreverence, question authority, and seek
solutions and understanding bigger than make sense.”
“Mainly though, I am a sailor.”

“Mainly, though, I am a sailor”

Todd was a gardener, carpenter, entrepreneur,
father, life partner, party organizer, leader

to me and others, Todd was a water brother
a man who loved to sail across the waves
of life - weather stormy or calm - with
his strong hand holding steady at the helm
doing his best to sail toward a better place
for his loving partner, Deborah, family, friends

always - always - always -
giving of himself
always - always - always -
selflessly caring

“Mainly, though, I am a sailor”

thank you Todd
like others - I am proud to share
the deck of your island ship 
to share lighthouse
history and tales

to share music at your and Deborah's sixtieth
with 300 others of your Earthly family

“Mainly, though, I am a sailor”

you have hoisted your sails
taken a new heading on the stars
set your tiller toward a distant destination
we remain in the wake of your passing vessel
we feel the light of your loving heart


We invite anyone with a memory of Todd you'd like to share, to share it here in the comments. He was a much-loved member of the Martha's Vineyard community and will be greatly missed.

Shelley Evans September 17, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Beautiful ode, William, but one correction: Todd graduated from Mamaroneck High School, Mamaroneck, NY.
Shelley Evans September 17, 2012 at 08:34 PM
I love Patch updates
Marcia Valentzas September 18, 2012 at 02:19 AM
A wonderful poem for a wonderful man... I didn't know Todd as well as many,mainly through Deb, the 60th Birthday Bash last year, and through his Facebook comments which were always informative and interesting. You could tell he was a kind, knowledgeable,caring and interesting gentleman. I am so sorry for his untimely death and for his family, loved ones and his many friends.
John B September 21, 2012 at 10:24 AM
Nice sentiment. But please correct the High School.. MHS (Mamaroneck High School)
Bob Luceno September 23, 2012 at 03:43 PM
This poem captures Todd well and having grown up in the same town as Todd and gone to Mamaroneck High School with him, count it a rich blessing that I was able to cross paths with his wonderful spirit so richly captured in the poem A loss for us behind on shore but a huge gain for the universe. Warm thoughts and prayers for all the Follansbee's.


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