World War II veteran Paul Willis shares poetry at Malaprop’s, June 25

World War II veteran Paul Willis, a Canton resident, has been writing poetry and prose for 60 of his 95 years. “Willis fought in the hedgerows of Normandy, across Europe and survived the Battle of the Bulge,” says his bio. “His poetry reflects his rich personal experiences and his love of history.” With the help of Brenda Hughes, a documentary filmmaker, Willis recently published Reflections of a World War II Veteran, a collection of his work.

The poet will sign copies of his book at Malaprop’s on Saturday, June 25, from 1 to 2 p.m. In advance, he shared a preview with Xpress:



Oh lead me through quiet fields of prayer
Where there are flowers everywhere.
Where sun capped hills are lifted up
And hungry bees at flowers sup.
Where birds in trees sing to the world
And clouds above the hills unfurl.
So as I view nature in its praise
And see my own poor feeble ways,
I ask you Lord to help me understand
That you are the architect of sea and land.



Peace among the marble stones, it’s there.
So deep so profound it permeates the very air.
The tears that fall for a moment wash away the
here and now. The distant past is there, among
the heads that bow. A passing breeze moves
across this sacred ground, And gently touches
each grass knolled mound. I think God feels
Himself the owner here. As friend of those who
want Him near, it is well the world is lovely there,
cloaked in its morning hours of prayer. There
beyond the sunset lies a glorious land. Where
God Himself holds the universe within His hand.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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One thought on “World War II veteran Paul Willis shares poetry at Malaprop’s, June 25

  1. James Howe

    I am trying to find out if this Mr. Paul Willis is the same gentlemen that served with a Mr. Tommy Richards during 1945. If by some chance he is I am an Storage Auction Hunter and have ran across some photos from 1944-45 with these two gentlemen in them along with some old post cards . I am not looking for any money just would like to get them to their original owners. Please feel free to contact me at this email or by phone 985-224-2721

    Thank you for your time,
    James Howe

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