Friday, May 3, 2013

Say what?

“A stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a stone, a leaf, a door. And of all the forgotten faces. Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb we did not know our mother’s face; from the prison of her flesh we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth. Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father’s heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone? O waste of loss, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this most weary unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When? O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.”

--Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel (1929), p. 3

I think old Tom may have been onto something (as opposed to on something).


  1. Ok, so you've got me studying now. What on earth is he talking about? My little brain says he finds it a long hard road home to heaven. Of course, my little brain doesn't always think like someone else's... It just figures he'd die of pneumonia after being in Seattle. I'll have a cup of coffee and think about it a bit more.

  2. A bit flowery, is he? I couldn't make it through a book that was written this way, but the fact that you put it on your blog suggests that you're a fan. He was from your area wasn't he--North Carolina, I think?

  3. RWP,

    I much prefer hearing words of wisdom from your good self than some weird quote.

    Still, old Tom may have been in something and on something. Or something like that. The Vancouver and Sydney Appreciation Society, say hi there, eh and gidday....

  4. Three very different comments from three very different readers! I'm not really recommending Thomas Wolfe because I found it difficult to wade through some of his very lengthy, very detailed descriptions. Even though his books are fascinating in many ways, they failed to keep my attention from wandering. He does hail from North Carolina (Asheville). The quotation in the post is the most famous passage he ever wrote.

  5. Mr. Wolfe had an interesting way of stringing together individually understandable words into difficult (if not impossible) to understand phrases.

  6. Pat, you ain't just whistlin' Dixie!