BILL MAYER was born and raised in Los Angeles. He received his BA and MA from San Francisco State University. Through much of his life, he was a dealer in fine wines, especially German and Austrian. He was an avid photographer, exhibiting his pictures of bristlecone pines in the White Mountains of eastern California at Mythos Gallery in 2011. His poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines. From 1992 to 2019, he published six books of poetry, among them The Deleted Family and Articulate Matter. He was married to the art historian, Jane McKinne-Mayer. He died after a long illness on October 25, 2019. A Distance Apart, his final poems, was written during the last months of his life.
The Magnificent Tree
I am in mourning for my fallen tree, the hundred-plus-year-old
box elder that graced our back yard. With four trunks, on its own,
it made our yard into a forest. Now the critters that made it their home
on different levels, have packed their bags to find a new one.
Soon we will plant new trees, or flowers, or maybe a vegetable garden.
It will be fine, though for now I see the great tree’s shadow,
tall and proud and alive as ever, the squirrels and woodpeckers
busy living their amazing lives, all of us together, partners in the world.
Bill Mayer, A DISTANCE APART
All his life a lover of music, Bill Mayer was especially moved by the great composers’
final works: among them, Schubert’s, Verdi’s, Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs. He
wrote A Distance Apart in the last months of a long illness. Bill had always been a poet
of the wondrous, the evocative meanings of every day things, of the dailiness of
beauty and friendship and love. In his final poems, one finds a poet still in love with a
life he does not want to lose, an earth he does not want to leave in which everything
lives its amazing life, “all of us together, partners in the world.”