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Louise Glück

  • Always nights I feel the ocean / Biting at my life.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "The Egg," Firstborn ()
  • Birth, not death, is the hard loss.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Cottonmouth Country," Firstborn ()
  • ... one never / Gets so close to anyone within experience.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Pictures of the People in the War," Firstborn ()
  • We had codes / In our house.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Scraps," Firstborn ()
  • Seven years I watched the next-door / Lady stroll her empty mate.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Late Snow," Firstborn ()
  • My first house shall be built on these sands, / My second in the sea.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Phenomenal Survivals of Death in Nantucket," Firstborn ()
  • Nights I turn to you to hold me / but you are not there.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Gretel in Darkness," The House on Marshland ()
  • You have only to wait, they will find you. / The geese flying low over the marsh, / glittering in black water. / They find you.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Messengers," The House on Marshland ()
  • And you never say / Leave me / since the dead do not like being alone.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "The Fire," The House on Marshland ()
  • The garden admires you. / For your sake it smears itself with green pigment, / the ecstatic reds of the roses, / so that you will come to it with your lovers.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "The Garden," Descending Figure ()
  • Then begins / the terrible charity of marriage, / husband and wife / climbing the green hill in gold light / until there is no hill, / only a flat plain stopped by the sky.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Epithalamium," Descending Figure ()
  • Of two sisters / one is always the watcher, / one the dancer.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Tango," Descending Figure ()
  • ... our parents merged into the one / totemic creature: / Come, she said. Come to Mother.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Tango," Descending Figure ()
  • I sleep so you will be alive, / it is that simple.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "The Dream of Mourning," Descending Figure ()
  • I have to tell you what I've learned, that I know now / what happens to the dreamers. / They don't feel it when they change. One day / they wake, they dress, they are old.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Marathon," The Triumph of Achilles ()
  • Why love what you will lose? / There is nothing else to love.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "From the Japanese," The Triumph of Achilles ()
  • ... mothers weep at their daughters' weddings, / everyone knows that, though / for whose youth one cannot say.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Morning," The Triumph of Achilles ()
  • The soul is silent. / If it speaks at all / it speaks in dreams.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Child Crying Out," Ararat ()
  • We don't have a dog. / We have a hostile cat. / I think Sam's / intelligent; he / resents being a pet.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Meadowlands I," Meadowlands ()
  • The advantage of poetry over life is that poetry, if it is sharp enough, may last.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Against Sincerity," in The American Poetry Review ()
  • The unsaid, for me, exerts great power ...

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Disruption, Hesitation, Silence," Proofs and Theories ()
  • We look at the world once, in childhood, / The rest is memory.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Nostos," Meadowlands ()
  • You know why you cook? Because / you like control. A person who cooks is a person who likes / to create debt.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Void," Meadowlands ()
  • The master said You must write what you see. / But what I see does not move me. / The master answered Change What You See.

    • Louise Glück,
    • epigraph, Vita Nova ()
  • Solace of the night sky, / the hardly moving / face of the clock.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Stars," The Seven Ages ()
  • We respect, here in America, / what is concrete, visible. We ask / What is it for? What does it lead to?

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Study of My Sister," The Seven Ages ()
  • We had the problem of age, the problem of wishing to linger. / Not needing, anymore, even to make a contribution. / Merely wishing to linger: to be, to be here.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Arboretum," The Seven Ages ()
  • There was a time / only certainty gave me / any joy. Imagine — / certainty, a dead thing.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Ripe Peace," The Seven Ages ()
  • To get born, your body makes a pact with death, / and from that moment, all it tries to do is cheat — .

    • Louise Glück,
    • "A Slip of Paper," A Village Life ()
  • You ask the sea, what can you promise me / and it speaks the truth; it says erasure.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "March," A Village Life ()
  • My body, now that we will not be traveling together much longer / I begin to feel a new tenderness toward you, very raw and unfamiliar, / like what I remember of love when I was young --.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Crossroads," A Village Life ()
  • In the window, the moon is hanging over the earth, / meaningless but full of messages. / It's dead, it's always been dead, / but it pretends to be something else, / burning like a star, and convincingly, so that you feel sometimes / it could actually make something grow on earth.

    • Louise Glück,
    • title poem, A Village Life ()
  • The love of form is a love of endings.

    • Louise Glück,
    • "Celestial Music," Ararat ()

Louise Glück, U.S. poet

(1943)