The Dual “Road” Allegory of Gloria Mindock

December 31, 2018 Book Reviews , Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

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By

Alisa Velaj

 

 

In a handful of Gloria Mindock‘s poems, a “road” allegory comes to shape from two vectors that, upon a first textual read, appear to be opposites. However, both actually head towards the same Ithaca for a destination.

 

“Love is an ode you owe yourself/— walk down the street and the road will follow” (Adventure)

 

People know of roads they follow. The poetess, instead, conversely evokes roads that follow people. Meaning, not having human beings seek for a path, but having a path seek for human beings. Loss of direction is common in both cases. A quote from Biblical scriptures uncovers probably the most allegorical verse throughout the New Testament: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6, Holy Bible, New International Version). It’s the allegory of the right path to take, the path of truth leading to a life of virtue. Jesus speaks of souls bereft of paths; Mindock depicts paths bereft of souls.

 

Again, as aforementioned, loss of direction is the common derivative. What, then, is the pathway out of such chaos? “Love is an ode you owe yourself”, Mindock replies. One’s search – for roads to follow or to be followed by – requires clarity and patience. Otherwise, the search turns into an adventure prone to surprises, along which ambiguity leads to absurd directions, impatience breeds short-sighted idolatry. In her poem “Déjà Vu”, the poetess assumes a prophetic role as she questions:

 

Is this a sign, I should be opening doors/ with blind devotion?

 

Together, love and clear commitment both embrace truth, precisely the truth that pounds the bells on the worldwide tragic reality these days. Unnecessary wars somewhere far from someone’s yard fence; maimed children who today are someone else’s, but tomorrow may well be yours, mine. Ours, above all. We adults, the poetess insists, should learn how to see and, on a parallel level, teach the same to our children. Before it is too late. Before today’s children, likely due to lack of such instruction, do inflict new dramas on tomorrow’s children.

 

Such emptiness will cause blindness. /Will you teach them to see?/ […] Most of all, will you teach them to sing?” (Melody)

 

The poetess invokes the times of grace, or of that gift which mortals are bestowed by faith. We – the offspring of heavenly and earthly love, we – the heartless inventors of wars and destruction, should be grateful for experiencing grace or, as described in the Bible, the experience of receiving gifts not by merit, but by God’s love and will to thus reward our redemption.

 

“Looking closely, a face is revealed to me,/a brief moment of clarity happens./God is rising into the air with hand reaching out to the plane./Such grace awakens the earth if you look./For most in this world, it is too late” (The Alps)

 

 

“If you look” is a straight shot at the capacity to fathom grace, so as to avoid total destruction, because right now “for most in this world, it is too late”. In this respect, Follow the road and/or Be the road stand out as two transcendent credos in Gloria Mindock’s poetry. A pair of twins, seemingly, yet each so unmistakably distinct in their individual identity and personality.

 

 

 

 

Alisa Velaj

Alisa Velaj has been shortlisted for the annual international Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in UK in June 2014. Her works have appeared in more than seventy print and online international magazines, including: FourW twentyfive Anthology (Australia), The Journal (UK), The Dallas Review (USA), The Linnet’s Wings (UK) The Seventh Quarry (UK), Envoi Magazine (UK), etc, etc. Velaj’s digital chapbook “The Wind Foundations” translated by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj is published by Zany Zygote Review (USA). Her poems are also translated in Hebrew, Swedish, Romanian, French and Portuguese. Alisa Velaj’s poetry book “With No Sweat At All” (trans by Ukë Zenel Buçpapaj) will be published by Cervena Barva Press in 2019.

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