POLISHING THE ART OF ENDING: READING
POEMS OF JOHN WILLSON WHILE REMEMBERING
THE BONSAI ARTIST WIRE A CRYPTOMERIA TREE
I. That line above my
Potato soup and a walk around
the block with Karen, mailman
at the box as we turn the corner.
I have to ask him about a package
return, Post Office protocol,
refusing to take because tape
and stamps broke security codes
having nothing to do with the
Czeslaw Milosz witness inside.
9/11 procedures screen for what
can't be seen. He offers to try
again, but I want those stamps back.
He gives me a book of poems
from John Willson, two lls,
Call This Room A
Karen's gone inside. I sit
in front porch room, read
first poem, Morning,
breasted finch flies under
Little Cherry Twist.
II. …suck the marrow
from a lamb bone
These poems have history
I'm privileged to. First look
suggests it's all here. Wedded
alert me to listen, watch my step.
Something remains I
can't see or pronounce.
Leaving, loss, departures. Title poem
comes up surrounded with precise details.
A drop of glue on a toothpick. The Father.
Ankle-crack dangerous stakes.
Mother so close she's rare,
the surprising line-break in the poem,
at 93, the utterance of full disclosure.
Rescued and redeemed by poet-son,
shining in a field of grass, discovering
the 4-leaf clover. Mom,
it's always you, the poet
finds himself anointed and proclaiming.
III. …to Hell with the
Four Noble Truths.
John Willson is the poet
of the finding eye and giving heart.
What he gives away comes back
in stories healing the ancestors.
IV. …and followed to a
fork beyond the eye.
These aren't the poems I knew.
These are the new ones giving life.
The poems I knew, I know new.
What sustained, witness.
Sustain and witness. Courage
and remembering walking the unknown.
Mountains of Japan. Mountains of Washington.
Old poets mirrored, mirroring.
1936. 1945. 1968.
Signposts and syllabics. Blood-close years.
Kannon worshipped as the mother of Jesus.
Bamboo blinds flashing over Nagasaki--
John--I was born on that flashing day!
Why this place? you ask. I, too,
like to stay on the move.
Desire washes clean in each of your poems.
29 March--1 April 2020