Featured Poem 4/1 – “Vespers”

Vespers by Louise Glück


In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.

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4 Responses

  1. PenguinAttack says:

    Sooo glad I own a Gluck (accented) book of poetry!

  2. PenguinAttack says:

    I have The Seven Ages and one of my favourites is ‘Eros’.


    I had drawn my chair to the hotel window, to watch the rain.

    I was in a kind of dream, or trance –
    in love, and yet
    I wanted nothing.

    It seemed unnecessary to touch you, to see you again.
    I wanted only this:
    the room, the hair, the sound of the rain falling,
    hour after hour, in the warmth of the spring night.

    I needed nothing more; I was utterly sated.
    My heart had become very small; it took very little to fill it.
    I watched the rain falling in heavy sheets over the darkened city –

    You were not concerned. I did the things
    one does in daylight, I acquitted myself,
    but I moved like a sleepwalker.

    It was enough and it no longer involved you.
    A few days in a strange city.
    A conversation, the touch of a hand.
    And afterward, I took off my wedding ring.

    That was what I wanted: to be naked.

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