Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Poem A Day #18

I don't have much to say about this poem by Louise Glück, except that it's really nice to read, earthy and full of great atmosphere and great sounds.

Glück is one of her generation's (my parent's generation) most honored poets, a Bollingen Prize winner, Pulitzer Prize winner, Academy of American Poets Award, US Poet Laureate and any number of other things in the last twenty years.  But this poem goes back farther than all that, 1967, before the awards, before the adulation of the academic world.  It's smart, unpretentious and deep, and its music is quiet but hard, hiding a little bit of truth, maybe even something profound.


Fish bones walked the waves off Hatteras.
And there were other signs
That Death wooed us, by water, wooed us
By land: among the pines
An uncurled cottonmouth that rolled on moss
Reared in the polluted air.
Birth, not death, is the hard loss.
I know. I also left a skin there.

- Louise Glück

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