Poem a Day: 28

Today’s Prompts were Angel and Looking Forward/Looking Backward. All I could think of was Look Homeward Angel, which I haven’t read. I looked up some quotes and made a glosa.

Pillar of Salt
a glosa
by Beth Weaver-Kreider

“. . . a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; a stone, a leaf, a door. And of all the forgotten faces. . . . Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language,
the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When? . . .
O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.”
―Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel

How can we help it, but to turn our faces homeward,
like the nameless wife who shifted her shoulders sidewards,
silent salty tears on her cheeks, for one last longing
homeward glance, one final chance to see—but salt
was all she saw, punished for wanting a parting glimpse
of all she was losing, all the remembered places
of childhood and family home. None of it her choosing, she
was swept along in the vortex of fearsome husband
and fiercer god, to completely lose her past, all traces:
a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. And of all the forgotten faces,

every stone upon the future path, each leaf, each door—
reminders of the life she’d lost. Perhaps better to be salt
than live a life of regret, pooling always in her eyes.
But we, who live onward into the stream of time,
how shall we turn our gazes forward while we carry
lost childhood on our backs like sacks, growing heavier with age?
If the angel is intended to look homeward, which direction shall we tell her?
Behind this salted pillar of me are childhood homes, and the home
of this moment, and ahead of me, home rests upon an unturned page.
Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language,

of loss, of memory, of the spiraling nature of time, where all
turns inward. Look inward, Angel. Look into the pools
where no-time swirls and tense no longer makes sense,
where past inhabits future, and now is all we can know,
Our gazes seeking lost whens turn our spines to spirals,
and salt explodes into flocks of singing birds, then
mirrors back onto itself, and the child running in the meadow
is suddenly an ancient tree silently observing time’s curl—
grief the cord that binds all times together, the weight of memory again,
the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When?

There, upon the windowsill, a small white stone,
a branch of dogwood, pink with bloom, your eye
caught by the yellow green of a single leaf. Beyond,
a green stone, an oak leaf burnished brown, then
a wide flat stone upon the crest of a hillside enwrapped
by vines, and triplet red leaves of ivy, one plane
of many layers, grief and rage and joy entwined.
One gaze encompassing all, the map home: a stone
of salt, leaves of cinder, ash scattered in the doorway, then:
O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.

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