The plum-lacquered woven Japanese basket Phil
Lately back from Kyoto gave us,
Juliet’s baby bed on Nymph and Cherry,
The year Phil dwelt over on Larch with Don A.
Beyond the shimmering silver dollar eucalypti,
Still packed away in the basement to this day.
Sometimes strolled two dirt road blocks to visit.
People mad at him if he came over, or if he didn’t,
He averred. Even in paradise poverty is a bother.
Tones if not words are always recollected.
Portly Bodhidharma mendicant
Toting his laundry downtown, two sad sacks.
Later on he camped down on Terrace tender
Dear heart crotchety and all alone as a song
In the same town with his vivacious Muse,
The elusive butterfly diva, Joanne K.,
Not quite on the outs and not quite on the ins with her,
Impatient amid nasturtiums as the day was long.
Time fills in the holes, cement in the ocean,
Dark parts of memory shading into bright.
One day when on acid the eucalyptus tilted,
A circus of silliness shimmering into play,
Phil sternly informed me, Thomas Clark,
Poetry will never get written this way.
i.m. Philip Whalen 1923-2002
Eucalyptus tree with sun shining through its branches: photo by DO'Neil, 2005
Leaf and flower bud cluster of Australian Eucalyptus angophoroides: photo by Benjamint444, 2008
Eucalyptus sideroxylon, leaves, stems, petioles, branches, buds & capsules: photo by HelloMojo, 2007
Tropaeolum majus: photo by Dalgial, 2008