Thursday, April 08, 2004

Matins (from Louise Gluck's "Wild Iris")

Not the sun merely but the earth
itself shines, white fire
leaping from the showy mountains
and the flat road
shimmering in early morning: is this
for us only, to induce
response, or are you
stirred also, helpless
to control yourself
in earth's presence -- I am ashamed
at what I thought you were,
distant from us, regarding us
as an experiment: it is
a bitter thing to be
the disposable animal,
a bitter thing. Dear friend,
dear trembling partner, what
surprises you most in what you feel,
earth's radiance or your own delight?
For me, always
the delight is the surprise. -30-

I enjoyed "Wild Iris" more than most modern poetry books. Gluck (pronounced "Glick") writes poetry between nature and man and God in the book and most of it is really well done. In a poem called "Harvest," Gluck writes from God how we should view the yearly harvest.

Look at you, blindly clinging to earth
as though it were the vineyards of heaven
while the fields go up in flames around you--

Ah, little ones, how unsubtle you are:
it is at once a gift and the torment.

If what you fear in death
is punishment beyond this, you need not
fear death:

how many times must I destroy my own creation
to teach you your punishment. -30-

I really enjoyed reading this, that we shouldn't fear death because we see it in the harvest and winter every year.

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