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The Sad Tragic Tale of Dennis Lloyd Martin

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I only recently learned of this story. For the few of you who may take the time to read this, some of this may seem fantastic, but these are the facts as reported at the time and researched from numerous sources. I embellished nothing. This is such a compelling story I just had to put it into poetry form, partly because it happened not too far from where I now live in east Tennessee. I have been to these locations with friends, albeit before I ever heard of this horror. It is a tale equal parts tragic and creepy. RIP Dennis.

His parents' worst nightmare that left them disheartened
is the sad tragic tale of Dennis Lloyd Martin

On a family outing at Cades Cove park
Dennis, his brother and some friends on a lark

Playing hide and go seek as they always had
well within sight of their grandpa and dad

The father was watching them horsing around
and he saw, that behind a bush, Dennis ducked down

And that was the last he would ever be seen
From the face of this Earth he had vanished so clean

The father ran frantically to and fro
to discover just where his young son might go

But his disappearance is so sad and twisted
it's as if little Dennis had never existed

The horrors began in the midst of Spence Field
with the little boy's whereabouts remaining concealed

And so many clues were washed right down the drain
with the horrible timing of a hard-driving rain

But the searching commenced, stretching days into weeks
every square inch was currycombed, valleys and peaks

Some of the searchers were Green Berets
but they went their own way, looking for days

Later came word from a family named Key
Their story bizarre, as you will soon see

At Roan Creek they were hiking, that beautiful stream
when they suddenly heard a bloodcurdling scream

And they saw a man or a thing running wild
toting a bundle, that might be a child

And the time they had seen this was hours removed
from when Dennis went missing, it would later be proved

But their story was never once seriously taken
Authorities dismissed them as likely mistaken

Despite this large manhunt with hundreds involved
this sad disappearance would never be solved

It seems there were clues that were largely ignored
and leads never followed, as if searchers got bored

In the ensuing years since the search was conducted
the parents believe that their boy was abducted

By someone or something that lured him away
and perhaps he was murdered that very same day

Are there crazy people living out in the wild
who wouldn't think twice about stealing a child?

Who would imagine that something so dark
could take place on a beautiful day in the park?

What happened to Dennis may never be known
It's dangerous out in the woodlands alone

Well, only that child, and the unseen force
that took him away knew what happened, of course

It's been fifty long years since that terrible time
for that family a day without reason or rhyme

I warned you this story would only dishearten
and thus ends the sad tale of Dennis Lloyd Martin


Copyright © | Year Posted 2019

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Date: 5/14/2019 12:17:00 PM
I remember when this happened because my first child was a year old, and my grandfather was from East Tennessee. I think this poem is not only ingenious, but very touching. I applaud you Michael. Blessings, Susan, PS, another favorite.
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Date: 3/4/2019 6:34:00 PM
Like a good book, I couldn't put it down! Reads like a ballad.
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Michael Wise
Date: 3/4/2019 6:58:00 PM
Thank u Sunlite. I didn't know if I should post it in the ballad category or not, so I simply went with rhyme. But, I appreciate your feedback. This is a heartbreaking story, and true, sadly. :)
Date: 3/4/2019 5:07:00 PM
a tragic story, indeed, michael, but one which you have described so well! i was riveted until the very end and i love the use of rhyming couplets to tell the tale...
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Michael Wise
Date: 3/4/2019 5:17:00 PM
Many many thanks to you Ilene. This story touched my heart, and sadly there are so many others like it, although this one has some uniquely bizarre elements. But the tragedy aspect is all-too common. Thanks again! :)