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Stop the Trees from Growing
Glenda Council Beall


Thomas Wolfe said you can’t go home again,
But I came here today, to where Mother nurtured
my spirit and where Daddy kept the roof over my head;
where the fire warmed my bed at night, when winter winds
howled ‘round the corners of the old frame house –
when this flat farm with ponds and pines was home.

The road that once the school bus traveled
taking me to spend the day
with someone who was not my mother,
looks like a highway to a place I’ve never been.

It’s not the buildings all torn down, the homes of friends
that now hold dreams of families I don’t know – 
It is the trees.
Nothing stopped the trees from growing, growing ever taller,
till they dwarfed the house, the barn, the back yard –
now a tiny garden towered over by a lilac tree,
an oak, and one longleaf pine.

I traveled from what is and has been home for fifteen years,
to visit that which  was but is not my home anymore.
Like you, Thomas Wolfe, I can’t go home again.
I can’t go home because that place I once called home is gone.

Forever gone, except in memories that linger like lazy chimney smoke
spiraling through my mind, thoughts that surge a yearning deep within
to hear the laughing voices, see the kindly eyes – stilled voices, loving eyes,
closed under sod upon a quiet hill.

© by Glenda C. Beall.
Used with the author’s permission.



Glenda Beall was raised on a farm in Albany, Georgia, and taught school for many years before relocating to western North Carolina. Her poetry, short stories, and essays have been widely published in journals, anthologies, newspapers, and magazines. Glenda teaches writing classes for adults and serves as Program Coordinator for the western branch of the North Carolina Writers Network. Learn more about Glenda at

Post New Comment:
Maren O. Mitchell:
So touching, Glenda. I could not say it with more yearning. Congrats! Maren
Posted 12/12/2019 09:04 PM
Beautiful poem, Glenda.
Posted 12/11/2019 06:06 PM
If only I was eloquent enough to convey how beautiful this poem is. Thank you.
Posted 12/11/2019 09:59 AM
I do not leave home, but the trees continue to grow and chance the scene.
Posted 12/11/2019 09:04 AM
michael escoubas:
Sounds so much like my own ruminations about going home, again, and yet again. Thank you Glenda, for the "lazy chimney smoke spiraling through my mind!"
Posted 12/11/2019 07:58 AM
Larry Schug:
A beautiful reminiscence.
Posted 12/11/2019 07:46 AM

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