Title of article..."Day shares uplifting philosophy - in poems"... by Steve Gilbert, Staff Writer
ST. GEORGE -- Back during the Depression almost everyone was bothered with more than their share of problems, whch they were more than happy to share with others. That's how Willard Day got started with his favorite occupation...writing inspirational thoughts, stories and poems.
"I was driving a cream truck back then and in those days people didn't have a way to get into town, so they would come with me," said Day at his St. George condominium across the street from the temple. "And when people would ride with me after a while I started noticing a trend. Now I'm not saying that all women are like this, but when a woman would ride with me she would almost always want to tell me her problems. And when a man would ride with me he would seem to feel a responsibility to tell me a foul story of some kind".
"But when you're driving a truck all day long your mind has too much time to wander. I thought to myself, hey I could do this for the next forty years and not know anything more than I do now. I've never had a good memory, but I started carrying copies of other people's poems with me so I could memorize them. Then when some one wanted to tell me their problems I would say, 'You know, I just learned a wonderful poem. Would you like to hear it?' And of course since they were riding along with me they would have to say yes. And every time I told them a poem, they no longer wanted to tell me their problems or a foul story."
Since then, Day has written dozens of poems, and in 1958 he self-published a book, the first of three, entitled "Crude Oil...Mental Lubrication." He had two thousand printed, and they went fast. Somebody told Day that if he didn't compile them and have them printed up, then they would. He sold 125 of the books during one week at Heber, where he was living at the time, and in only two hours he sold 40 in Roosevelt where he had lived most of his life and where people knew him and his poems.
Day's work deals with religious themes, dealing with life's problems, finding solace, peace and reconciliation for the soul, yet celebrating life and its joys and sorrows. He writes tirelessly, and at 84, enjoys amazing recall of his and other's poems, reciting them spontaneously whenever the conversation lulls.
"I called that first book, 'Crude Oil' because it needs refining," said Day. "So if you don't like it you can refine it."
He says he knows commas are out of place and his ideas are not professional, that they are more simple and down to earth.
And now, after having his books around for 25 years, he has sold or given away close to five thousand of them, never with the idea of getting anything in return except the satisfaction of giving people something to think about.
"I was happy only to make back the thousand dollars my wife and I spent for the first book," said Day.
Sitting on the edge of his chair he tells the story of going to a ward auction with nothing to donate for auction but one of his books.
"After everything else was gone the auctioneer picked up the book and said, 'Now the last thing left is this book, and I don't know anything about it,' explains Day. 'Is there anybody here who knows anything about this book,' he asked. And I stood up. He asked what could I tell the people about the book, and I said that I wrote it. Then he said, 'Take the microphone.' So I read some of my poems and when I was finished he said, 'What am I bid,' and the first bid was five dollars, the second $15 and the winning bid was $20. And that made me feel good because there were a lot nicer things at that auction that didn't go for $20."
But you still can't get Day's books in stores. You have to be given one or buy one from Day himself. As employment specialist for Fourth Ward, he shares his wisdom and encouragement with many who need and appreciate it most.
He still writes too, sometimes getting up in the middle of the night when ideas come to him, leaving them sketchy for work later. His big project is his personal memoirs, now near completion.
"And I have notes and ideas from 40 years ago that I'm going to develop yet," says Day, which only goes to show his work is timeless.
*Along with this article was a photo of Willard and his wife with the caption, "St. George..Willard Day with his wife of 63 years, Arvilla, at their home in St. George. Day has self published three books of his "poetic philosophy,' which he has been writing for 50 years."
*Included in this article was the following two poems, written by Willard.
It doesn't take long after arriving
To feel this is not thy rest
Even though you reach what you thought
Was life's hill top crest.
You feel no physical discomfort,
The uneasiness is of the soul,
Urging to arise
For this is not thy goal.
And we make another start
Toward the promised land
To find more discouragement
And a wilderness at hand.
We may wander for forty years and a half
But the spirit must climb Mt. Sinai
Before we are really ashamed of our golden calf.
The physical need, the Ten Commandments
The soul urge is to a higher plain
Life is to reach the summit again and again
Until the man complains.
What is weariness to the body
To the soul is but growing pains.
Willard A. Day
Call of the Soul
Higher, still higher, is the call of the soul
Never satisfied; where is thy goal?
Climbing, wondering, is there no end?
You think you are close, and then
Another call. Get thee hence, stop not here.
I get the message, though not too clear.
Nor am I always sure.
From whence comes this rush, pull to another shore.
What is this thou has done to me.
Ever uneasy, asking, driving for more?
I find no satisfaction in physical things:
Appetites, passions, nor what offices
and head appointments bring.
I, like a fish on the desert, trying to find an outlet to the sea.
Dear God, is there no rest for this weary searching soul
Until I am able to find rest in thee?
Willard A. Day