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Poems By Poet Laurence Overmire  11/27/2014 10:01:55 PM
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Look Homeward, Angel

“Where shall the weary rest? When shall the lonely of heart come home? What doors are open for the wanderer? And which of us shall find his father, know his face, and in what place, and in what time, and in what land? ” –Thomas Wolfe, from “Of Time and the River”

It took a while to find
And if you didn’t know where to look
You’d never know it was there.

The home I mean of Thomas Wolfe
—in the thirties—
The great Southern novelist.

I’d heard he lived in Brooklyn for a time
Same as me, rented an apartment, but where?
I finally found a
Reference in a book somewhere
With an address—the basement of number 40
Verandah Place.

It was my neighborhood, as it turns out
Just down the street
Somewhere below the Heights and the fabled
Brooklyn Bridge
But there was no marker, no monument
To mark the history of this momentous place.

“Only the dead know Brooklyn, ” he wrote.

The building was owned by someone, so of course I
Couldn’t go in, but I wondered if the owner even
Knew the significance of this brick and plaster and

All I could do was look on from outside:
A tiny window at ground level, not more than a foot of
Exposed glass above the back alley black tar pavement
Dry leaves and dust stuck in the cracked and peeling
Paint of its frame.

The blind, pale and yellowing, was drawn
Leaving a cold and lifeless sense of a space
No longer occupied.

There was no seeing in, and it was a wonder to me
How that young visionary writer managed at all
To see out.

How dark, how damp this tiny room
Must have been, and yet
Somehow was the birthing, light blasting
Through that little window
To catch the world’s eye
A novel called, perhaps not without coincidence:

“Of Time and the River.”

(Previously published on Ancestry.com,2003)
Laurence Overmire



Lost Child

The child rocks back and forth
Shivering in the bleak night of a third-world winter
A blanket full of holes
Maggots crawling in the bedsheets
Her bony limbs contorted ‘round her breast
Scant defenders against the onslaught of the wind.

You will not hear her crying
You will not see her tears
Half a world away is easy to ignore
But the heart knows
What governments and egos and wallets must deny.

The snow falls with the relentlessness of Time
Claiming the lives of the helpless and abandoned
But the death of an innocent
Cannot be easily buried in the conscience of Man
Choices must be made
But who has the courage to touch the suffering?

(Previously published in The Oracular Tree, June 2000; Twins, Issue 12,2001)
Laurence Overmire



'Neath the Pines

‘Neath the pines
Tall majestic pines
Still woods


Quiet cabin
Log walls hewn by ancient axe


Time-lost songs
Loves and lives and sorrows passed

They flicker in the moonlight

Spackled ‘cross the fallen leaves
Needles on the forest floor

Listen for a moment...

The wind sweeps through the boughs
Like a sigh.

(Previously published in Over The Back Fence Magazine, Fall 2001)
Laurence Overmire



Old Man On The Bed

Old man on the bed
Where do you go
When the lights are dark
And the nurse calls out
Through the door?

You cannot hold your orange juice
And the peas run down your chin
You seem to look right through the walls
Past the TV spewing noise
You cannot hear the endless drone
Of a ringing telephone.

The tubes shoot venom into your heart
Hanging bottled masks to hide your head
White sheeting shroud to cover your loins
There is breath from your lips
But life is long spent
No wonder.

I wish I were there with you
Wherever you go
Old man on the bed
When the lights are dark...

In some dreaming place
There are fields of green
Soft meadows and grassy hills
And there you are walking
With a boy’s careless smile
Your hat in your hand
Your face to the sky
Stopping to smell the flowers
That grow by the way.
Laurence Overmire
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Poems By Poet Laurence Overmire