I have met many different people while visiting long-term care facilities, nursing homes and hospitals, as part of my volunteer duties.
One man I met, Mr. Flowers, was an amputee, and while he had no legs from above the knees, he sat high in his wheel chair and had a commanding presence. He was of sound mind, whereas some of his fellow residents had lost this faculty, and Mr. Flowers often found it difficult to find someone to talk to. He had been a high school teacher in his working years, and it was easy to engage him in conversation.
When he learned that I wrote poetry, he asked me to write a poem specifically for him. Being the kind of man he was, and his unusual name, it didn’t take me very long to come up with the following poem:
A Garden Full of Flowers
(for Mr. Flowers)
A garden full of flowers
when tended with great care
or tended not at all
if wildflower seed is planted there
will reap its keeper plenitude
in fragrant showy splendor
and bring the memory of spring
come blustery December.
Blooms spring forth upon the mind,
deep wine rose and purple phlox,
daffodils of yellow,
replace the snow and blizzards
in the darkened winter hours
and keep alive in mind’s great eye
that garden full of flowers.
©Patricia Ann Boyes
March 7, 2005
You would think I had given him back his legs when he read that poem! He beamed the brightest smile that nursing home had seen in a very long while, and I got a hug that almost toppled him out of the wheel chair.
What a blessing to see the happiness a string of words, placed in the right order on a simple piece of paper could bring to a person.
Mr. Flowers, who didn’t seem to have any religious affiliations whatsoever, shouted, “God bless you!” as I entered the elevator to leave that day’s visiting behind.
“He already has, Mr. Flowers,” I said, “He already has!”