Now Presenting Daily Wisdom Words Own Poet Guildford Windley
Almost all poets are deeply affected by happenings in childhood and important people along the way, and this is Poet Guildford’s own story in his own words in response to several interview questions he was sent by the dailywisdomwords.com team.
Hi Shirley, hope all is well for you and your family. First I want to thank you for this honor. Your questions are quite good and it takes some thought to answer. But let’s start at the beginning I was born in 1945 in Santa Monica California I was the firstborn in our family after my birth at about six months old we moved to an unincorporated part of Hayward California where we lived for about eleven years. In that time my brother and sister were born, however, due to a car accident on the way to deliver my sister, she was stillborn, her lost had a profound effect on me, and is my source passion and caring for others. My brother was born seven years after my birth and in later years was somewhat of his rock while going through some tough times.
But let’s go back to before he was born, where I was influenced in life. One of those life-changing moments came when I was about nine my cousin Dave and his two older brothers I was playing and guess we were bothering them, so they but us into an old abandoned icebox and they shut the door, Dave and I were trapped with no way out. Well, there was only so much air to breathe, and it was running out fast. I still from time to time have nightmares about this Dave was laying on top of me he had passed out and I was with every ounce of fight in me kicking at the door, I could no longer cry out and we were only a short time from death. My father got concern as to where Dave and I had disappeared to, fortunately, he asked the two older boys and they had forgotten to let us out of the Icebox and told my dad that’s where we were. My dad got us out in a nick of time. Because of this incident, I learn that life is very fragile and never give up the fight until the very end. In life, one must remember that we all are in the same boat, no matter who you are or how important you might be we all are just one breath eternity. Also, I’m very claustrophobic.
Another influence happen when I was about ten I was walking home from school one day when all of a sudden a bald eagle landed on my head, at first I was scared but it moved down to my right shoulder and it gave me a peck on my cheek and then it talked to me, not in human language but it squawk to me and it look me in the eye, and I felt that I understood what it was communicating, it stayed with me for I think about five minutes gave me one more peck and brush me with his left-wing and off he went. Through this experience, I found it’s most important to give full attention to not only humans, for we make up only a small part of the living organisms on this here island we call Earth. each and every living thing has a story to tell, we just need to listen and feel, for words are a human thing and all other living things communicate plain. However when listing to some humans I forget to pay attention, my bad. Also, I found out as I got older for some reason I have had several encounters with creatures and lots of stories that I could tell, but I leave that for some other time.
I was also very much influenced by an elderly neighbor lady when we lived in Hayward, I was very young about seven and to be honest I’m not sure how our relationship got started but she was one of my great loves, maybe she was watching me for my mother, or I was just a pest, but I always thought I was there to protect and help her, she was very old, not how old but when your seven most adults are old. Both of my grandmothers were dead, so this lady was the embodiment of a grandmother. I guess from her point of view I was the embodiment of a grandchild. I do remember that my mom would always check on her, my mom told me that she was all alone in this world. that her husband and children had died. it’s hard for me to remember but as I recall she had two boys that were killed in the war, and that after the second one died her husband died of a broken heart. So one can see how this arrangement might work and how love can grow between two souls. She gave me a world that I will never forget. A love for beauty, literature, nature, and music. oh I should not forget my love of food. She taught me so much and gave me an understanding of and respect for all living things. To be respectful of people no matter their place in life, for we all have a place and until you lived in that place you should not make judgments on others’ lives. she was a major factor in how I evolved to a person who has embraced not only my masculinity but also my femininity.
You very much honor me, by inferring to me as a poet, when I see me as a simple storyteller, and I have been telling stories for a long time. I even once told upon entering a new school a story to my new class and teacher that I was an exchange student from England and this keeps going on for about a week until word got back to my folks and I was exposed as a prevaricator, oh the shame of it, when just calling me a liar would have done just as good.
My family moved to San Francisco when I was eleven, those years from that point until I was seventeen were hard years, my father lost his job due to sickness and also alcoholism and my mother was also an alcoholic too. we had lost are home and so we found an apartment in San Francisco and my dad found work that well did not last long. in a short time, we found our selves living in a housing project and being dirt poor. I did what I could to make money for the family I hawk newspapers on a corner in downtown I also had a large paper route that I did in the early morning. I would also go to this bakery that had a discount outlet store where they sold fruit pies and cupcakes I would buy several and sell them at school since the cafeteria did not have the kind of desserts that the kids wanted, I did make a little profit, which helped my family. But during this time we also had days where the food was not available so I also know what hunger is. I also learn to appreciate what I have and to be thankful and to share where needed.
When I was seventeen I lost first my mother in the spring, then in the fall my dad. So here I was just a kid with a ten-year-old brother no home no money I went from my childhood to adulthood in a brink of an eye, my never say die attitude kicked in, we took a breath and never looked back. I made arrangements with my Uncle who lived in Hawaii to take my brother in, as for me II had some friends that I would stay with from time to time and other times I lived on the street, you can learn a lot going through that. I had just graduated from high school before my dad passed and was going to junior college when he died I drop out of college and I was able to find a job to get some money for my brother and I but once my brother was safely taken care of I went into the Navy, and I spent a great deal of time in a place called Viet Nam, my job was to drive landing craft and later a gunboat there I learn what hell is. enough said on that, oh by the way I’m no hero I came home whole the heroes are the ones who gave their all and those that left parts of their body or their souls in that war on a distant shore.
But life always has its smiles, besides its frowns. it’s joys and its tears life is one of balance and we need to find that balance, to find happiness in what our soul is and not to worry what some other soul is. Yes, I’m weird. but I sure I’m unique. I was blessed to find the love of my life, Peggy my wife of 46 years, we have been blessed with three daughters, and now that they are grown we were blessed with a fourth daughter who married my oldest daughter and a son who married my middle daughter, you may note I do not refer to them as in law, in my family you’re family on the same level of love so there no in law in my family. We have two dogs Suzie and bailey and a bunch of cats. We live in Pacifica California. I love the coast and the Redwoods and I seldom go inland, and I have not been outside of California in years.
I have been writing poetry and story stories most of my life, and I don’t know if it’s a curse or a gift, but it seems like most of the time I have stories or poems floating in my head, I will be sleeping and wake up to a poem or story that I’m thinking about. my inspiration comes from wherever it just comes to me. sometimes when I see injustice I need to give life to the passion that I feel inverse. One thing about writing for me is always a challenge because I’m tone-deaf so I do not hear words the way most people hear words, so spelling ha and will always be a challenge. I also have a hard time with grammar so with all these difficulties it gives rise to my never say die attitude. Two things that I am blessed with, is my ability to read and to know words. the other thing people love when I read out loud poems stories mine and other people’s work, I have been blessed with a voice and a gift of the dramatics.
I have not really published anywhere except my daughter put some of my poems and stories into two books that they put together as a gift to me, which of course I love. I should also say that I started writing more when I was forced to retire due to my health. I had congestive heart failure and a very bad lower back problem, oh and we should throw in a right hip, that is bone on bone and which I will be soon getting replace.
what are my other interest, I love the 49ners I love to read, I love also with a great deal of passion Ballet, my wife and I have season tickets to San Francisco Ballet. Since walking is a problem I go to a therapy pool and enjoy walking and dancing in the water, which is about 90 degrees. I love history, I love ships and the sea. Besides Pacifica, I love the San Mateo, Mendocino, and Sonoma Coast. Yosemite and oh can not forget Napa valley.
Politically I considered myself a humanist, I believe in respect for all life and I value life over money. I am environmentalist and believe we should do what we can to keep our imprint on this world as small as possible. The earth is in itself a living thing, it will change naturally, mankind is like an unwanted rash that has scarred the world if we don’t minimize our presence, the earth will evolve in such a way that our presence will no longer be. I support indigenous people’s rights, equality, and racial justice. I also am an outspoken feminist.
Well, Shirley, I hope I answer your question if I forgot anything just let me know but I can see on the clock its 5:18 am I should be in bed. I hope you have a great day and again thank you for this honor.
As we can see by his words, Guildford is a man of great compassion and a real asset to the DWW community, and his deep love for humanity and compassion for one little immigrant lady is poignantly expressed in the following poem.
by: Guildford Windley
.A poem for Maria
A child lost in a world that does not care
A world of greed, hate, and deceit wrap up in phony Christianity
She is one but there are others
Both to these shores in hopes of life-saving measures
The medical establishment brought her here, legally when we had a government that care
She has a rare disease; we a new treatment
A test patient she would become
Her cost is paid for no federal funds were used
We have to learn a lot, giving new hope to those who have this problem
This young child is now a woman she still needs medical attention
She has grown and is highly educated never commit a crime
But she is Guatemalan; she is not the right kind
So she must go even though she will die
But our government could careless
To us, Guatemala is a place to rape them of their natural wealth
To Trump, it is for his base drive all people who are not white out of this place
But what of us when do we say an enough is enough
Please take a stand, a far immigration plan do we demand.
Treat people with dignity and respect
Where is our humanity where is our heart
It is not the child that is lost
It is a country who once should upon others
A country that though not perfect tries
Not now, we have lost our way
A cry in the woods, a country without a soul
We will reap what we have sowed!
Guildford H Windley
August 30, 2019
Dedicated to a beautiful powerful woman Maria Isabel Bueso
Thank you Guildford for sharing your beautful thoughts and life with us. I am looking forward to seeing more of your poetry on dailywisdomwords,com and to interviewing more DWW members and Twitter poets on our soon coming YouTube channel.