Haiku and Tanka for Paul O. Williams

buttered sweet corn—

he disappeared as did

the Cheshire cat


            Patrick Gallagher

Frogpond. . .

   a great silence, then

      a great singing


                                    vincent tripi




Paul enters my thoughts often, enough that I am surprised. He was a good friend and I miss him. One of my favorite haiku by Paul is:



a warm fall day

learning from this rock

to do nothing



A few weeks ago, during a backpacking trip in the Olympics, I shrugged off my pack to rest a while by the Skokomish River. For no apparent reason I felt Paul’s presence keenly and remembered the above poem. For a while we seemed to be sitting together. Then I got up to continue my trek towards a chosen campsite and this poem emerged:



deep woods

have I learned nothing

from this boulder?


                                    Christopher Herold


the wide river
of our friend’s goodwill
the lasting currents
                    Susan Diridoni
quiet mountain . . .

from its lengthening shadow

an eagle rises





fragrance of friendship -

sprigs of rosemary

for remembrance


Merrill Ann Gonzales




a walk
around Walden Pond
a bite from the moon
-- missing


Linda Galloway


wind in the canopy

twilight doesn't silence

the grosbeak's song


Carolyn Hall



silent water—

a summer hat left

on the stepping stone


                        Fay Aoyagi


Remembering Paul Williams

I first met Paul in 2002, when I joined HPNC. At one of the earliest meetings I attended, I volunteered a haiku for workshopping by the group. There were twenty or so attendees present. I read the poem aloud – and vigorous discussion and commentary followed. At the end of the discussion (probably after noticing the response in my face), Paul spoke up. With his typical grin, he told me not to worry – he, too, once offered a haiku for group criticism. When the group was done with it, there was only one word left in the poem!

The most recent memory I have of Paul was by email. I joined Twitter last year. I follow several other people, but don’t tweet much myself. In early May, I received a message that Paul was now following me on Twitter. The thought cheered me: I could imagine Paul being intrigued by Twitter and the similarities between the brief form of communication and haiku. I also got a little nervous. If Paul was going to read my tweets, I had better get my act together and write something worthwhile!

In addition to the memories I have of Paul, and to the wisdom he imparted and the writings he shared, he also was a model: an artist, poet and scholar in whose achievements we can all take strength from.

- David Grayson


Table of Paul's books and more at the HPNC July 20th meeting
(Photo: David Grayson)

Garry Gay reading a letter about Paul, from Vincent Tripi. Sue Antolin and Carolyn Hall are sitting to Garry's right and left, respectively.
(Photo: David Grayson)