In Memory of Vachel Murphy

You watched the wasting
until you wondered
if you could stand one more glimpse
of those hands,
bones shining beneath the skin
stretched thin as hope
in fourth stage cancer
across the knuckles…

Hands that once held the hammer,
guided the saw,
marked the lining draw
that defined beams and jambs,
length and angle,
the intersection of design and doing…

Hands that curled notes from steel strings
and wove them like soft curls of cedar or pine,
voice and thought lined into melody and passion,
a deep caring born of life’s hard-learned lessons
and a loving as genuine as the feel of oak grain.

You saw the pain,
felt it in his voice
and knew it from the way his eyes
couldn’t keep from narrowing at times

and at times wanted to curse the darkness
that seemed to close in on his shrinking frame,
the footings giving way to the devouring cells,
body taken ahead of the grave in slow motion dying.

Even when all of hope for this world
was finally clawed away,
planed clean of the last lingering
of best-intentioned comments,

You knew of promises spoken
by another Carpenter,
another man of suffering and love,
a man who crafted beams and worlds
and promised that none who believed in Him

would ever truly die.

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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