A Visit Home

Published 11:53 am Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Visit Home

During the visit home, there was a voice at a diner

Someone who knew my childhood name

Before the crucible of education taught me

The name I would become

Into infirmity

There were tales of the ones before us, gone now

Who fell, jumped or bowed out

The ones who worked at the mill, worked on farms

Knew all about houses and women

Went on the road

Marked time on football fields, preached the Gospel word

Played the baritone, sang like birds

Played the guitar in garage or concert hall

Some were nerds with TI-30s

Now at MIT

It all amounts to arrowheads for red men or white

Tucked away in drawers Whose only light

Comes in when others move them

When one of the living might take a look back

To even a flake of long ago

Most of the rest is covered in soil and leaves

Until everything becomes soil, and leaves

So we want a bond

With the voices from behind

Who call us by our childhood names.

                                                          — Robert Calmes

Robert Calmes grew up in Bogalusa and wrote this poem after a recent visit. He is a literature teacher at St. Joseph Seminary in Covington.