POETRY IS LIKE TAKING A DEEP BREATH

Friday, 15 June 2012

SCREENED PORCH




The stars were foolish, they were not worth waiting for.
The moon was shrouded, fragmentary.
Twilight like silt covered the hills.
The great drama of human life was nowhere evident—
but for that, you don’t go to nature.

The terrible harrowing story of a human life,
the wild triumph of love: they don’t belong
to the summer night, panorama of hills and stars.

We sat on our terraces, our screened porches,
as though we expected to gather, even now,
fresh information or sympathy. The stars
glittered a bit above the landscape, the hills
suffused still with a faint retroactive light.
Darkness. Luminous earth. We stared out, starved for knowledge,
and we felt, in its place, a substitute:
indifference that appeared benign.

Solace of the natural world. Panorama
of the eternal. The stars
were foolish, but somehow soothing. The moon
presented itself as a curved line.
And we continued to project onto the glowing hills
qualities we needed: fortitude, the potential
for spiritual advancement.

Immunity to time, to change. Sensation
of perfect safety, the sense of being
protected from what we loved—

And our intense need was absorbed by the night
and returned as sustenance.


Louise Gl├╝ck
1943



5 comments:

  1. An interesting take on the contemplation of nature (in one of its benign manifestations, at least). I found the opening line particularly striking--for no good reason, it reminded me of a line from, of all poets, John Ashbery: "the day was gloves." I imagine them put together to begin another poem: "The stars were foolish, the day was gloves." OK, so maybe I'm the one who's foolish . . .

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  2. Totally not what I expected. I don't know Gluck & I saw the picture & it screamed: Failed Affinity to me.
    I was wrong(in a good way). ~Mary

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  3. What an interesting line - "the sense of being protected from what we loved". There's something to ponder.

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