The Glowing Door

  After Reading the Poetry of Jones Very,

       Unitarian and Mystic (1813-1880)

     Jones Very stood alone, within a circle which no other

      of mortal race could enter, nor himself escape from.

        Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Hall of Fantasy”


         but then face to face

        1 Cor. 13:12

It shone within a wall of blackened stone

Whose layers were compressed into a dense

And all but absolute consistency.

How often we had glanced at that bleak sheen

Wondering who could cut through such a rock

And with what primal adamantine tool.

And yet the door was there, its golden hinges

Glimmering in the bolted underplanes.

As far as we could tell the door would move

Although its knob—of some strange lunar heat

And solar cold—was hard for us to grasp.

No master key had ever worked the lock

Whose hidden parts would grind each time we tried

The most delicate motion left and right

Listening for a clicking as we pressed

Against a grain that glints but never gives.

And there we stand as always in the rays

Emitted blind and shining from a source

That touches us although we cannot breach

By human will the plane that holds the door.

And yet perhaps for now it is enough

To know a way remains, though sealed in light,

Through this thick wall on which we have to gaze

At faces untransfigured in its glaze.

David Middleton

Until his retirement in June of 2010, David Middleton served for thirty-three years as Professor of English at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, and he is now the first Poet in Residence Emeritus at Nicholls. Middleton’s books of verse include The Burning Fields and Beyond the Chandeleurs. He has been published extensively in places such as The Anglican Theological Review, The Southern Review, The Sewanee Review, Chronicles, Louisiana Literature, The Formalist, and has served as poetry editor for The Classical Outlook, Modern Age, and Anglican Theological Review.

'The Glowing Door' has 1 comment

  1. January 17, 2020 @ 2:12 pm Cynthia Erlandson

    “lunar heat and solar cold” — “faces untransfigured”– I love it!


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