There's reason to their rhymes

July 15, 1997

There's reason to their rhymes

Poets Tonya and Dyln Osborne have a message in their musings


Staff Writer

FUNKSTOWN - At age 15, Dylan Osborne takes in the teen scene by hanging out with friends at concerts, movies and the 180 Club.

He also writes poems, and one of them, "The Biggest Mistake," earned the top spot in South Hagerstown High School's Prom Promise poetry contest.


"It's a story about a guy who is driving drunk and trying not to get pulled over. He wakes up in the hospital and he doesn't remember what happened. A cop and a doctor tell him he hit a family and killed them," Dylan said.

"The Biggest Mistake" was included with other poems and artwork in the school's Prom Promise pamphlet and distributed throughout the school.

"I made it as realistic as possible, so they just don't brush it off," he said.

He said he was sitting in first period biology class when he heard the intercom announcement: "Do you want to make some money? If you do, write a poem about the effects of drinking and driving ..."

At the far right table at the front of the class, Dylan started writing.

In early March, he finished revising the poem in the 1 1/2-hour class period, copied it over at home and took it to the office the next day.

Two months later, he heard over the public address system during announcements that he had won.

"It makes me feel pretty good because I don't think anybody expected it," he said.

"He didn't think he would win. He said, 'Mom, I'm only a freshman,'" said Nina Davis, Dylan's mother.

First prize was $50.

Did he do it for money, or to speak out against drinking and driving?

"A little of both. But I can't write a poem unless I have feelings about it," he said.

His feelings about drinking and driving are linked to a family tragedy.

"We lost a family member to a drunk driver," said Davis, 39.

In the early 80s, their 25-year-old cousin was killed in a car accident involving an intoxicated driver.

"It had a definite effect on the family. We are a family against alcohol," Davis said.

Dylan Osborne said his favorite lines of the 32-line poem are the last two, "Drinking and driving do not go together. You can kill someone and regret it forever."

"It pretty much sums up everything," he said.

"There's a lot more kids that should know the dangers of drinking and driving," said Dylan's sister, Tonya Osborne, 17.

She also writes poetry, although now she's concentrating more on getting a summer job following her graduation from South Hagerstown High School in May.

In the spring, she hopes to pursue veterinary technology at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa.

"My best poem was about my dad. It was deep and it came right from my heart. My dad (Chuck Osborne) means a lot to me," she said.

The pair both take the time to make their poetry rhyme.

"It's the only kind I write," Tonya Osborne said.

Davis, who manages a day care facility from her 103 E. Maple St. home, said that friends and relatives have asked her daughter to write poems for special occasions, such as anniversaries.

"When my mom, Ethel Davis, turned 70, Tonya wrote a beautiful poem about my mom and my mom's life. She wraps people up in a poem," Davis said.

How do the poetic duo's writing styles differ?

"Tonya is outgoing. Her poems are happier. Dylan finds something that he really feels strongly about and just pours his heart out," Davis said.

"I would love to see both of them pursue this. I definitely think it's a gift, but with both of them having it, it's got to be genetic, too," Davis said.

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