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:
STRENGTH THROUGH NATURE
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.
A STILLNESS AT MARGRATEN
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.