Pot of Gold

(Compassion is a salve with
power to heal our souls.)

She was the brightest star
in his darkest night,
first child of his youngest;
and though their stories
intersected in earnest
but a short time ago,
it was clear to all that
she now owned his heart.

Her visits straightened
his spine and swelled
his chest; and when she
kissed his bristly cheek and
intoned, I love you, Grandpa,
he heard again the old music
to which he once hummed and
danced an occasional
impromptu jig.
He decided to give her a gift,
though his station didn’t allow
for much: eighty-six, withering
parts, strangled assets, wringing
out his days in a home with
a hundred more like him.

But he hatched a plan,
executed it with equal parts
stealth and constancy,
and, when her next visit
was winding down,
anxiously steered her
to his dresser, splayed
the contents of his sock drawer
like Moses parting the Red Sea,
and removed a popcorn sack
with 49 packets of sugar
pilfered from the dining room:
breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

She received the gift
with a pooling in her eyes,
a thrumming in her heart,
and love for the old man
anchoring deep within
her soul.

Returning home
she carefully opened
the packets as in a sacred
rite and emptied them into
her grandmother’s sugar bowl,
bequeathed, shelved, and patient,
perhaps, for a day such as this.
She brewed a cup of tea,
sweetened it slowly,
and pondered how fortunate
she was to have stumbled upon
her own rainbow lavishly spilling
into a pot of gold.

© 2009 Dennis Ference

20 thoughts on “Pot of Gold

  1. That’s so beautiful! What a moving and needed depiction of inter-generational love! Children and the elderly are gifts to the world, just as much as robust, working adults. Thank you for this touching poem.

  2. Oh Dennis! So poignant…the tears are falling gently on my cheeks! You evoke such emotion in your beautiful words…tell a story so rich that we know exactly who the people are and exactly what their emotions are…brilliant! Thank you so much for this beauty! ❤

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