By: Charles D. Williams
Publisher: West Wind Books
Publication Date: November 11, 2023
Review Date: November 20, 2023
Acclaimed writer Charles Dowling Williams offers a fresh volume of his observations formed as haiku, moving gently and thoughtfully through a year of adventures and incidents seen through the eyes of a farmer, poet, and philosopher in his newest work, Visible Magic.
His four-part work, encompassing a chronology of the seasons over a several-year span, opens on 21 June, 2023 with a pair of quiet observations about summer’s “first dawn” – celebrating a chorus of bullfrogs, a hillside of daisies, and “a Buddha napping.” Summer's sights will include hummingbird moths, a dawn of waking mimosas, June bugs, and ripening pears. Some of the works, all classic haiku – three lines of seventeen syllables – include a brief introduction, such as the need for a plunge in “a cold cave spring,” as a cure that bathes away the sting of nettles. Eerie nighttime voices of owls bring to the poet’s mind the Pleistocene origin of those creatures. In August, 2022 Williams humorously notes that he beat the birds to his elderberry bushes. On the final summer date, September 20, he reflects upon
turquoise blue mornings
reflecting seas far away
or, that bluebird’s wings?
Fall brings a litter of pups for the author’s kindly concern, and, in October 2021, his homestead’s largest crop of apples since 2013. Chilly breezes and the incursion in his house of cave crickets presage the coming of winter, as “the sun is cooling,” heading “so far southward, crows throw no shadows.” A philosopher’s viewpoint is expressed as Williams reflects that the trees and the seedlings he has tended remind him of his hands. Winter brings snow, stars, and a cold 2022 Christmas morning, with an introductory note that the temperature that day was minus five degrees, with 25mph winds. Williams doubtless refers to himself as, in February of 2022, he observes trees planted in 1982 and questions:
what kind of young man
would plant white pines in oak shade?
a curious one...
As birds begin to migrate back to the farm after the rough winter, it seems to the author that they are returning to their family home. With an eye for nature’s multitude of wonders, an ear for the nuances of sound and a mind clearly absorbed in his surroundings, Williams inhabits a realm that he has inhabited and studied since adolescence. He is the noted manager of West Wind Farm as well as a legal practitioner in his native state of Kentucky. He has achieved awards for his continuing endeavors as a farmer, conservationist and poet, having written previous haiku collections.
Quill says: William’s latest poetic work, Visible Magic, will please his current fan base and reveal him to new readers as an intuitive, sensitive observer of the passing seasons, a man of good sense and good humor who expresses universal concepts and gives new insights within the context of readily recognizable settings and time-framed happenings.