One of those words from another time,
I think, as my walk circles back
towards my house, the wind, an accomplice
with the cold this late November day,
filming my eyes with tears. The sun’s bounce
is gone. It’s resigned to going down
earlier each day, and sinks slowly over
the pond towards December’s bottom.
When a truck passes, piled deep with cut wood,
it magnifies the longing in my body
for the cold day to flame up. Nostalgia:
the pain of it, how it cleaves return
and home, so there’s no getting home,
not again, not ever, but only the remembering
of some happiness that went unrecognized
when, long ago, it was being had.
The streetlights remind me the time is later
than I’d realized, and for a moment
I’m that sojourner in the Psalms, a stranger
in a strange land who knows how the world
will never be the home he wants it to be. Fallen,
and heaped up by the wind at the road’s edge,
a windrow of pine needles seems pale as the clippings
of my childhood hair on the barber’s floor.
Robert Cording teaches English and creative writing at College of the Holy Cross where he is the Professor of English and Barrett Professor of Creative Writing. He has published seven collections of poems: Life-list, which won the Ohio State University Press/Journal award, in l987; What Binds Us To This World (Copper Beech Press, l991); Heavy Grace, (Alice James, l996); Against Consolation (CavanKerry Press, 2002); Common Life, (CavanKerry Press, 2006); Walking With Ruskin (CavanKerry, 2010), which was runner-up for the Poets’ Prize last year; and his newest, A Word in My Mouth: Selected Spiritual Poems (Wipf and Stock, 2013). He has received two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in poetry and two poetry grants from the Connecticut Commission of the Arts.