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A Son's Tribute: Robert Dean Wilson (1925-1991)
by Robert Wilson

Robert Dean Wilson was born in 1925 in Herrington, Kansas and raised in Cody, Wyoming (a part of Yellowstone National Park) until the age of 8 when his parents moved to Los Angeles, California. Wilson served in the US Army during World War II and was stationed in England. After his discharge at the end of the War, he took a job with the Los Angeles City Health Department. At night, he attended the University of California and eventually earned a BS Degree cum laude. When he retired, Wilson was the Executive Planning Officer for the City of Los Angeles.

Wilson loved poetry and spent many an evening reciting favorite poems to his son, also named Robert. Says his son, "My dad made poetry come alive. He put feeling into the poetry he read. He instilled in me a love for poetry when I was in the 5th grade. A love that has lasted until this day."

When it came to writing poetry, Wilson opted for haiku. He had a love affair with the Japanese culture. He cooked Japanese food, went to Japanese films in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo District, visited Japan, and owned volumes of haiku. Although he was an excellent writer (he once wrote speeches for former Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty), Wilson was a closet poet. He never submitted any of his haiku for publication. They were written on 3x5 notecards and stored in his rolltop desk at home. This is the first time the public has seen Robert Dean Wilson's Haiku. Says his son, "This is a memorial to my father. May his memory live on."

Haiku by Robert Dean Wilson, of Pico Rivera, California

Sentinels of spring . . .  
Kites bobbing for attention Spring winds conduct
In saucy March winds A staccato symphony
March 1960
with palm tree batons
January 1970
Lacy curtain hands
In open windows The thousand wagging tongues
greet passersby . . . Of the banyan tree . . .
July 27, 1970
Silent cacophony
October 1960
Shameless trees, have you  
no modesty, dropping your clothes Moon and trees play
upon the ground endless hide and seek as I
October 1960
wander . . . through the forest
December 7, 1960
Alone, who will share my loneliness?  
Footsteps? Company? Cobwebbed fishing poles
Only the mail Cast lines of reverie . . .
October 1961
could that gardening wait?
October 1962
Distant hills  
Sentinels in the fog sea Willow bough, still water . . .
Guard the enchanted valley the wind practices
November 5, 1962
fanciful calligraphy
October 1963
Swords of morning sunlight  
Cut the gloom of shadows Is that my wrinkled face
In my room of thoughts In my garden pool?
January 1964
There, erasing pebble
January 1964
The tortured limbs of  
My fig trees beg for leaves to As God walks in the forest
Hide their ugliness The aspen leaves tremble
March 8, 1965
In awed silence
April 27, 1965
Morning mists  
bedeck my ginger plants Rows of fence posts
with pearl dew drops In drifting snow
March 1960
Guard my house
March 1960
A mother pauses from  
washing walls to read messages Mute headstones
left by little hands Vying with wilted flowers
March 24, 1972
For the mourner's attention
October 1964
Watching for eternity  
Gaunt headstones peering through  
the morning mist  
October 1964

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