The WordPress Weekly Challenge has asked for a share that evokes HOME, whether the representation is literal or abstract.
Home is more often a concept concerning our personal identity that we carry with us wherever we go, even once the memory of a specific place might otherwise have faded, growing dark and hazy. Still, we find commonalities with others when comparing our memories of home life. Sharing experiences, such as a book or a poem or a song, can spark connections (and even serve to make new memories).
Here’s a writing I’d like to share from my home area, if you’ll permit me.
Permit Me (a) Voyage (from The Third Voyage of Hart Crane) is a poem by James Agee, a fellow mountaineer from Tennessee (now gone from this world), who is likely best known for “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” – a significant literary document about three impoverished sharecropper families during the Great Depression.
Agee’s poem gets a cameo role in my own writing, At the Water’s Edge, when Wil and Danielle are sharing a moment about forced memorization of their regions’ poets in their earlier school years. Though their regions were countries apart, they can relate to this common experience (just as some of you may). She can’t recite the poem in its entirety, but she makes the mistake (or is it a Freudian slip?) of mentioning that she can still recall the final line. I’ll save that for after you get a chance to read the poem for yourself.
Permit Me Voyage
Take these who will as may be: I
Am careless now of what they fail:
My heart and mind discharted lie
And surely as the nerved nail
Appoints all quarters on the north
So now it designates him forth
My sovereign God my princely soul
Whereon my flesh is priestly stole:
Whence forth shall my heart and mind
To God through soul entirely bow,
Therein such strong increase to find
In truth as is my fate to know:
Small though that be great God I know
I know in this gigantic day
What God is ruined and I know
How labors with Godhead this day:
How from the porches of our sky
The crested glory is declined:
And hear with what translated cry
The stridden soul is overshined:
And how this world of wildness through
True poets shall walk who herald you:
Of whom God grant me of your grace
To be, that shall preserve this race.
Permit me voyage, Love, into your hands.
Back to a little awkward banter concerning Agee’s poem that’s taken place between Wil and Danielle:
“You said you remembered the last line too. What was it?”
She sighed in mock exasperation. “Doesn’t anything get past you Donnellys?” Her voice resonated with the panic she was feeling. Why had she even mentioned the final line? This was nobody’s fault but her own. She should’ve expected him to be this attentive after spending the day before with his ever-so-astute brother.
“Permit me voyage, Love, into your hands,” she hastily murmured, looking down at her fingers that were nervously wiggling and interlocking in her lap.
To assure her he’d heard every single syllable, he repeated the words – each with the same passionate enunciation he’d used at the waterfall while reciting Yeats, “Permit me voyage, Love, into your hands,” even adding an over-pronounced exhalation of breath at the end. His own hands locked tightly on the steering wheel as he drove further into Sligo, refusing himself access to his companion’s lovely (though now-scarlet) face. His stomach twisted into a small knot. Yet, he merely nodded casually, fighting an irresistible urge to allow the corners of his mouth to turn upward.