Bob Sill’s Voice

farmBob Sill had a Bravo! bass voice
rumbling, rich with thunder
tender as warm rain
quenching the thirsty church and theater halls

but he loved to farm the land.

He’d drive his tractor
digging into the hard soil
singing the fields awake
by the roadsides of Berrien County
in the warming, morning sun.

Only the dark-purple earth heard him
rolling up toward his lilting notes
row after row
stanza after stanza
then turning sadly over
as the wheels spun forward
as the sound faded.

Maybe the crops were distracted
lullabyed into laziness
not high as an elephant’s eye
only tall enough
to request an encore
but not pay the bills.

Twin City Players wasn’t Broadway
and the taxman doesn’t collect show tunes
or spirituals
even though
the land on Bob Sill’s farm
was cultured and soulful
rich with lyric and melody
and his green crops danced
in the spotlight of the sun
and echoed songs in the footlights of the night sky.

I heard Bob Sill
retired to Arizona
where stretches of desert
waited in line
thorny Saguaros pleaded
for a few final requests.