Master of Touch and Flow

Photo: Dad and Jim (his pet crow) at the water pump, early 1940s

~ for Richard Bedford Bennett ~

a Depression-era prairie child,
you touched castles made of sand
and grew up humbly on the land
playing with quirky homemade toys
when big-sky sunsets and sunrises
pierced the distant flat horizons
and phantom prairie winds
whipped and slowed
while carving soils
that crumbled and flowed
between your dusty fingers

while caring for your patients,
you touched their myriad lives,
seeing generations through
the precious joys of birth and health
and scary times when death was stealth
alas, you finally said goodbye
to thirty-one devoted years
and in your private office flowed
heartfelt thanks and grateful tears

a man with two busy green thumbs,
you touched your grateful plants
feeding, watering, staking, pruning…
each year, when Summer greeted Fall
when gourds were huge and pole beans tall
tomatoes ripe and basil lush
your veggie patch seemed to explode
and jellies, jams and salsas flowed
into dozens of bottles and jars

King of the Queen, workers and drones
you touched the heavy, buzzing homes
of your ninety thousand pets
calming them with quiet words
soothing them with smoke
your colonies thrived
honey arrived and soon it flowed
in streams of floral sweetness

a lover of insects and birds,
you touched startled chickadees
while swaddling them in cloths
after they’d fluttered inside
when launched again into the sky
their freedom melodies flowed
back through our open window

despite my love of playing with verse,
of sculpting thoughts and dreams
and touching hearts and minds
no matter how much I chase
nuances across creativity’s garden
I’ll never capture ones that say
how grateful that I am today
for your pure love’s touch
that’s always flowed to me
since I was smaller than
a grain of sand

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

– Paul Raworth Bennett


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