Monday, November 16, 2015

A Meditative Heart

Same beautiful place as yesterday, the Asilomar Marine Reserve 
at the edge of the Monterey Bay. Although it is a bay, it is also the ocean. 
The surf beats on the rocks, beats on the rocks, beats on the rocks,
slowly creating an almost white sand from the granite.
I couldn't stay long, but it was hard to tear myself away.

When I got home from the YT Haiku Retreat, S needed an organizer tray to hold items on his table. I looked around in the bedroom and found one in which I had stored a few special books too slender to be shelved. One of them was a book of poems by Paul O. Williams who often was at the Haiku Retreat with us before his too sudden too soon, death. The book is inscribed to Pat Shelley and came to me after she died. Most of the poems (36) were first published in the Christian Science Monitor, which, before its (too soon) demise, used to publish many short, intelligible and excellent poems. Here is the first one in Paul's small volume. It carries the same freight of sadness that I often felt in Paul despite his general and witty jollity.

A Meditative Heart in San Francisco

In the sea-winded zoo, gorillas lean
against the concrete limits of their habitat
dreaming of rainforests. Their tall, sloped heads
fill with the rightness of glistening leaves,
of bird cries, beetles scuttling, lushness,
vegetable darkness, the dank rot of litter.

A neat, white gull settles by one pool,
stands half asleep, struts on greenish webs,
as the dark primates watch, lean on thick,
lax knuckles. The gull lifts, wheels above them,
banks in a gust, glides high, away. The big male
turns his head, deep brows swarming with shadows.

Paul O. Williams             (1935-2009)

Growing in the Rain; poems by Paul O. Williams
Smythe-Waithe Press, Santa Rosa, CA, 1991, page 1.

No comments:

Post a Comment