Reuben Wisselink was inspired to write a poem about the Highway of Tears.

Discussion, dream inspire Highway 16 poem

Reuben Wisselink, 16, couldn’t help himself, the words just came to him and he started writing.

Reuben Wisselink, 16, couldn’t help himself, the words just came to him and he started writing.

Wisselink, a budding writer who’s nom de plume is David Goven, wrote his poem , The Highway of Tears after discussing the topic in his Grade 10 socials class at the Christian high school.

“I dreamt about the highway that night,” Wisselink said of the first impression the class discussion had on him.

Just days later, he saw a woman hitchhiking along highway 16.

“My dream and the class discussion flashed in my mind and those thoughts rushed back to me in words,” Wisselink said.

Wisselink admits his first thoughts when he saw the woman hitchhiking were not gracious, but upon reflection he said he came to understand that ins some cases hitchhiking is the only transportation the woman had access to.

“Then what can you do,” he said.

“But it’s sad that people who make one decision that isn’t the wisest have to pay for that decision with their lives.”

Wisselink said he wrote the poem in the hopes of increasing awareness of the risks of hitchhiking, especially along highway 16 and to show that teenagers are aware of the situation and they have an opinion.

When he got home, Wisselink sat at his computer and started typing, letting the words flowing into his brain guide his fingers.

“This is what appeared, line by line, on my computer screen,” he said.


Highway of Tears

When the blood turns to tears and the tears to years and the tears turn to mud

You are at the Highway of Tears

Families ripped apart, their hearts ache to know what has happened

To those they love.

A woman here, a woman there, they disappear, mothers, lovers sisters, daughters

On the Highway of Tears

We will search to the ends of our lives, but we may never know where they went

Without a trace out of our lives

Children with no mother, fathers with no wife, brothers with no sister, mothers with no daughter, when will it stop?

On the Highway of Tears

When the tears turn to rain, the blood is washed away, but the memories will always stay.

It has to, it must come to an end, but please tell me when.

The death and destruction of good lives end.

On the Highway of Tears


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