Louise Glück

This might not read like a typical new year poem, but rather like something coming to an end. But the days are still very short, and the “stimmung” in the text is very recognizable –


All day he works at his cousin’s mill,
so when he gets home at night, he always sits at this one window,
sees one time of day, twilight.
There should be more time lilke this, to sit and dream.
It’s as his cousin says:
Living— living takes you away from sitting.

In the window, not the world but a squared-off landscape
representing the world. The seasons change,
each visible only a few hours a day.
Green things followed by golden things followed by whiteness—
abstractions from which come intense pleasures,
like the figs on the table.

At dusk, the sun goes down in a haze of red fire between two poplars.
It goes down late in summer—sometimes it’s hard to stay awake.

Then everything falls away.
The world for a little longer
is something to see, then only something to hear,
crickets, cicadas.
Or to smell sometimes, aroma of lemon trees, of orange trees.
Then sleep takes this away also.

But it’s easy to give things up like this, experimentally,
for a matter of hours.

I open my fingers—
I let everything go.

Visual world, language,
rustling of leaves in the night,
smell of high grass, of woodsmoke.

I let it go, then I light the candle.

~ from Louise Glück A Village Life (Ferrar, Straus and  Giroux, 2009)

5 Comments Add yours

  1. CCK says:

    Thank you.

  2. KM Huber says:

    Works for me, Sigrun. Thanks for the reminding me about Louise Gluck.


    1. Sigrun says:

      I have never read her before, very happy to have discovered her words & works!

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