He woke all up to the cow’s returning
Home in the evening to be milked (not the dawn)
And if there were anywhere fences they were already mended
By the man who worked alongside others like a plow.
“If there’s a job to be done, you would do best to believe in it”
He said half to himself, but I heard him nonetheless
Speak of winter days in Yarmouth when the fire hoses froze,
All morning with Ben Stockholm before the sun had risen,
And going after rebounds like his mother after chickens,
After homework, after yardwork, after seeing Travis would be the one.
Cramped in officer’s quarters with some Monk and the knowledge
Of his young wife at home, and the children to come.
(When there were snakes on the river he swam toward the sun.)
Oh he lifted them high
And woke them up all early with sausage and the commitment,
The conviction, that believing in others was a sharing with God…
He could not be pushed over, so when called he went on
To till in a further, mysterious field
Where heartbreak shines like dawn.
In Memoriam: Richard G. Bowie
June 1, 2015