Louise Glück. Departure

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The night isn’t dark; the world is dark.

Stay with me a little longer.


Your hands on the back of the chair -

that’s what I’ll remember.

Before that, lightly stroking my shoulders.

Like a man training himself to avoid the heart.


In the other room, the maid discreetly

putting out the light i read by.


The room with its chalk walls-

how will it look to you I wonder

once your exile begins? I think your eyes will seek out

its light as opposed to the moon.

Apparently, after so many years, you need

distance to make plain its intensity.


Your hands on the chair, stroking

my body and the wood in exactly the same way.

Like a man who wants to feel longing again,

who prizes longing above all other emotion.


On the beach, voices of the Greek farmers,

impatient for sunrise.

As though dawn will change them

from farmers into heroes.


And before that, you are holding me because you are going away —

these are statements you are making,

not questions needing answers.


How can I know you love me

unless I see you grieve over me?


The Wild Iris


At the end of my suffering

there was a door.


Hear me out: that which you call death

I remember.


Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting.

Then nothing. The weak sun

flickered over the dry surface.


It is terrible to survive

as consciousness

buried in the dark earth.


Then it was over: that which you fear, being

a soul and unable

to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth

bending a little. And what I took to be

birds darting in low shrubs.


You who do not remember

passage from the other world

I tell you I could speak again: whatever

returns from oblivion returns

to find a voice:


from the center of my life came

a great fountain, deep blue

shadows on azure seawater.

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