Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Poetry: Louise Gluck This Time

The Fear of Burial

In the empty field, in the morning,
the body waits to be claimed.
The spirit sits beside it, on a small rock--
nothing comes to give it form again.

Think of the body's loneliness.
At night pacing the sheared field,
its shadow buckled tightly around.
Such a long journey.

And already the remote, trembling lights of the village
not pausing for it as they scan the rows.
How far away they seem,
the wooden doors, the bread and milk
laid like weights on the table.

Louise Gluck

From 1980's Descending Figure, presently collected in The First Four Books of Poems.

Years ago I picked up a copy of Ararat and upon reading a few poems in it I immediately realized that I'd found a voice that I really liked; generally "disaffected or angry," but transforming and masterly. She was soon welcome in my little pantheon of favorites.

From her introduction to The First Four Books of Poems:

"I felt, even before I learned to read, that a book was a holy object; this awe perpetuates itself in each attempt to make, of a pile of poems, a speaking whole."

I recall that when I was little I had the same feelings, though then unschooled in music, about melodies.

1 comment:

wunelle said...

I love the abstraction of music, that it communicates--sometimes very palpably and deeply--without our being able to say exactly what is being said.

I imagine poetry to be similar, but the words sometimes get in the way for me. It's something to strive for, an understanding.