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Archive for March, 2008

in celebration of surviving

when senselessness has pounded you around on the ropes
and you’re getting too old to hold out for the future
no work and running out of money,
and then you make a try after something that you know you
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Church Going

Once I am sure there’s nothing going on
I step inside, letting the door thud shut.
Another church: matting, seats, and stone,
And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut
For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff
Up at the holy end; the small neat organ;
And a tense, musty, unignorable silence,
Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off
My cycle-clips in awkward reverence,

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Isle of View

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
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The Wheelchair Butterfly

O sleepy city of reeling wheelchairs
where a mouse can commit suicide if he can

concentrate long enough
on the history book of rodents
in this underground town

of electrical wheelchairs!
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In all three of Louise Glück’s poems, Gretel In Darkness, Mock Orange and A Myth of Devotion (see poems below), she is taking a traditional story and twisting it into a new tale. Gretel in Darkness published in 1971, Mock Orange published in 1985 and A Myth of Devotion published in 2006 are all about the myth of devotion itself. Attachment, loyalty and commitment are addressed as distortions of truth in these poems, with a voice that is mocking and cynical.

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The Bee Meeting

Who are these people at the bridge to meet me? They are the villagers —
The rector, the midwife, the sexton, the agent for bees.
In my sleeveless summery dress I have no protection,
And they are all gloved and covered, why did nobody tell me?
They are smiling and taking out veils tacked to ancient hats.

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Gretel in Darkness

This is the world we wanted.
All who would have seen us dead
are dead. I hear the witch’s cry
break in the moonlight through a sheet
of sugar: God rewards.
Her tongue shrivels into gas . . .

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