Henry Jones is always on a journey of discovery.
As a lifelong poet, visual artist, playwright and performance actor, Henry has become a keen observer of the world around him.
“I have spent most of my life trying to express my inner self, while simultaneously trying to gain a better understanding of the outer world around me,” says Henry. “My journey has helped me understand my purpose in life.”
Henry’s impressive curriculum vitae contains a host of notable achievements, including completing a fellowship with the Porch Writers Collective and OZ Arts Nashville, serving as a judge for Southern Word’s Poetry Slam, publishing over 400 original poems and creating fine art that has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. In 2021, Henry was named as Hendersonville’s first poet laureate, and he has since been heavily involved in conducting poetry readings and coordinating open mic events at Monthaven Arts & Cultural Center and the Hendersonville Public Library.
Henry is currently working on several new projects, including planning a theatrical production, designing a mural, developing an anthology and completing his second book of poetry, Black Skillet Blues: Poetry without Cornbread. He will also be the featured artist during Reading in Red, an upcoming exhibit of his art which will open on Feb. 1 at the Janet March Levine Gallery in Nashville.
During 2019, Henry wrote a moving poem “I am Still Searching for You”, which was published in the anthology 20/20 Vision Focus on Czech Republic: A Poetic Response to Photography. The poem was inspired by a photograph by Terry Price, which depicted an elderly man with sad eyes who appeared to be searching for his lost love.
Although the poem has sad underpinnings, it is also filled with hope and optimism that love will reward those who patiently await. As such, the work is particularly poignant during February, the month of love and Valentine’s Day.
I AM STILL SEARCHING FOR YOU
Where are you, my love?
Again I stand here looking
up and down into the streets
searching for your face
amongst the crowds of people
passing like a flowing stream
I stare while counting heads
hoping one was your crown
glistening along the currents
to eventually rise up for air
to see me along the shore
and reach for one of my hands
My fingers grasping the windowsill
instead of you there’s rotten wood
covered with chipping lead paint
releasing flakes drifting to the road
where lovers embrace each other
to prevent falling back into loneliness
The same desolation I know too well
while my probing eyes become tired
hoping to see you again if I keep watch
until back in each other’s warm arms
holding our love beyond the fears
twisting our hearts of their bitterness
leaving a sweetness found in the curved
rations of our passions where we clung
until the years of emptiness were released
filling us with only our love to overflow
drowning and floating as the wind blows
our echoed moans through the panes
This is why I still want to find you my love
at this glassy portal to our joyful memories
now a black hole eclipsing the sunny days
preventing the rays to refract your vase
overflowing with broken lilies holding on
in the stench of old water smelling like death
I know you’re still alive out there somewhere
they lied to me and tried to comfort me
with cold prayers like the stones of this building
rocks to remind me again of the marble pillar
with your engraved name to find you below
covered in layers of dirt instead of my kisses
You are coming any day down that path soon
I know it’s true because I found your smile
on the face of a young woman holding flowers
her fist clutched hairy roots swaying
seeking to taste cool water to live again
thirsty like we were before we found our love
This is why I stand here 35 years later
longing for your fingers to caress my lips
to silence my mind of worrisome thoughts
about this world now so empty without you
fighting alone to hold on each day to life
so I am still searching for you, my love.
My journey has helped me understand my purpose in life.