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Jon Michael Willey

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Carrboro Poetica
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an urn (revision one)
by Jon Michael Willey
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Rated "G" by the Author.
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An urn attempts to explain the influence of the urn containing his father's ashes upon an aging man. When the father was alive communications between them was terse and more often than not heated. The father an opinionated domineering sort. I have revised this poem in the hope of gaining overall clarity for the reader at the suggestions of my valued peers. To whom I extend my sincere appreciation.


an urn
on a site of proper prominence it’s seated
 midway along a dark cherry wood mantle
 curved artistic lines in puce.. yellow flowers on
 therein vibrancy of his life condensed into ashes
i’ve found ease with him reposing there
assessing my activities consensual or not
an urn framing reassurance in pervasive air
tolerance no longer the standoffs life knew
though his past didactics flashback anew
whenever consequence is my valued quest
 no longer is my resolve diminished in fear of
 his denunciations in a pointed fingers rage
his infrequent reassuring pats on the back
are treasured monuments of recall I seek
lest forever I be malcontent’s understudy
 mere malevolent purveyor of hostile reflections
urn utile vessel for the ages stir my itch
order me to the scratch easing old conflicts
may influences of his ashes serve to clarify
 learned couriers of adjudication enduring in urn

Jon Michael Willey




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Reviewed by Sheila Roy
I think it would be a giant obstacle to 'see' him there, still residing. The growth it takes to move on and be okay with it is admirable. I especially like your descriptions in the first verse. You set the stage; it felt ominous to me in a way. Hugs,
Reviewed by Axilea MU
There is a moment for a son/daughter when the influence of a parent must become lighter. Those ashes are a reminder of what was, but, in some cases, can also mean that it is time for us to become free individuals with less weight upon our shoulders. Your poem is flawless in composition, Jon, and very thought-provoking.

Reviewed by Andy Turner
Gosh, so powerful. And with dad just passing a few weeks ago, I am glad that I never said a word unsaid.
As always, your deep piercing words really hit the bulls-eye.

Blimey, not many, if any, can write like you!
Reviewed by David Hightower
Jon - I had to scroll down through lots of empty space to find the comment section. I don't know why. I didn't read your intro before I read your poem. The poem made it all clear within. I immediately recognized that it was a father's ashes judging still, and a son's freedom from that judgement. I especially liked the concreteness of the first stanza. I could see the urn on the cherry wood mantle. It seems to anchor the following stanzas, which lead to

"order me to the scratch easing old conflicts"

Enjoyed reading. - David
Reviewed by C. McGovern-Bowen
this is marvelous, jon. stirs up my own conflicted memories of an oftentimes harsh father (who passed 14 years ago). my years as his
primary caregiver helped bring us a tad closer, but still many recollections remain sadly bitter...
wow! your write does touch a nerve!
very well done.
peace & blessings,
Reviewed by Z McClure
A powerfully written response to the urn and all that it symbolizes- a reminder that God's word is true- we all bodily return to the dust from whence we were formed! Crafted with clarity and emotional intensity!
Reviewed by E T Waldron
Jon Michael,I salute you for sharing this superbly written poem.Such intense feelings are difficult to write about,you did a fine job of it! As Jude mentioned,his mother died giving birth to him,and his father never let him forget it. These are the hurts that too many have to deal with,sadly, long after their parents are gone.

Love and hugs,
Reviewed by JMS Bell
Reviewed by Regis Auffray
Powerfully introspective in scope and very well shared via your verses, Jon. I find the urn to be symbolic in meaning and emotions evoked. Thank you my friend. Love and peace to you,

Reviewed by jude forese
my father always jested me saying "what do you want a pat on the back?" his distance extenuated deep inside by blaming me for my mother's death ... since i buried my father in 1996 i still have not returned to the graveside ... hostile reflections go a long way ... an urn would be much too close ..,

excellent poem ...
Reviewed by Christine Alwin
Jon, You have written a novel in this moving heartfelt spill of emotions kept, but ah, how they stir and heal in the presence of your well so much moved me~
Reviewed by Karen Palumbo
Oh my friend you are not alone in the torment of the mind where memories and secrets are kept well guarded. Wouldn't it be a blessing for all to grow in a home where love, respect, understanding was in abundance? Find peace and solitude from within...

Be always safe,
Reviewed by Gene Williamson
May you soon find the lasting peace you seek, my friend,
in those treasured, though painful, moments of recall. -gene.
Reviewed by Walt Hardester
There was once a lady who, after a few drinks was looking at the urn on the mantle where her husbands ashes were stored. She jumped up, poured the ashes on the coffee table and then took a deep breath and blew them all over the living room.
She then sat back down on the sofa, took another sip and said,
"Well, you bastard, there's that blow job you bugged me about all theose years."

Reviewed by Christine Tsen
This is brilliantly understated and you engage the reader so well here, Jon, as you try to crack through that crust and find the soft love inside, the attitude of forgiveness is pervasive here and your longing to let go of burdens so exquisitely written between the lines ~ wonderful!
Reviewed by Ronald Hull
I., too, had a ongoing joust with my father over almost everything. I think that is true of fathers and sons. My mother recently wrote me that I, "talked down to him." That is perhaps the reason why he refused to play cards with me in later years because of something I said during the active conversations while playing cards. Since he never finished high school and had a hearing and eye problem, causing him to be rejected for service in the Army in 1941, most of his family considered him to be "dumb," although, as a truck driver, he was a very good provider. I criticized him for living check to check. I learned later that, behind my back, in spite of my disability, that he praised me mightily among his friends, including former Secretary of Defense and Congressman, Melvin R. Laird.

Your poem gets better with each revision. Your choice of words like, "puce," are superb. I can feel the emotion you feel about your father's remains and how his urn on the mantle is a constant reminder of your life with him. Your father may have made you feel inferior like my father's family made him, but you are becoming a poet of some renown that your father would be very proud of. I always enjoy reading your poetry because of the surprise words you pick that are perfect for the thoughts you are trying to convey.

Reviewed by La Belle Rouge Poetess Of The Heart
Jon you challenge our emotions and our thoughts with the awarness that though those who influenced our lives may pass into another place leaving only ashes, they are still and forever powerful to the eternal part of us. Brilliantly penned.
Reviewed by Liana Margiva
POWERFUL POEM!!!!!!!!!!! Liana Margiva
Reviewed by Felix Perry
Truly a different perspective for the reader to ponder and wonder about...enjoyed,
Reviewed by John Flanagan
Not only is this powerful, as George rightly suggests,
but it's demanding on both intellect and spirit;
i'm particularly taken with how the first stanza setting
moves into a personal interaction in the second, and then
the revelation of balance of power in a relationship that must
have been meaningful but couldn't have been easy...or am i reading too much in?...and look at that closing...the possibiliity of
renewal and continuation.
In admiration, Jon, My Friend,

Reviewed by Kate Burnside
I like George's question in response, but, in a way, I like this turning of the tables which can perhaps correct the imbalances of power and ascendency which existed in former life. I feel a peace here and a quiet resolution in which all itches can be soothed by the possibility of redress. Careful work here, Jon. Bless you, xx
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Carrboro Poetica by Phyllis Jean Green

A Pushcart Prize-nominated poetry collection...  
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