Sunday, October 16, 2011

from a journal - louise glück

From A Journal
by Louise Glück

I had a lover once,
I had a lover twice,
easily three times I loved.
And in between
my heart reconstructed itself perfectly
like a worm.
And my dreams also reconstructed themselves.

After a time, I realized I was living
a completely idiotic life.
Idiotic, wasted --
And sometime later, you and I
began to correspond, inventing
an entirely new form.

Deep intimacy over great distance!
Keats to Fanny Brawne, Dante to Beatrice --

One cannot invent
a new form in
an old character.  The letters I sent remained
immaculately ironic, aloof
yet forthright.  Meanwhile, I was writing
different letters in my head,
some of which became poems.

So much genuine feeling!
So many fierce declarations
of passionate longing!

I loved once, I loved twice,
and suddenly
the form collapsed:  I was
unable to sustain ignorance.

How sad to have lost you, to have lost
any chance of actually knowing you
or remembering you over time
as a real person, as someone I could have grown
deeply attached to, maybe
the brother I never had.

And how sad to think
of dying before finding out
anything.  And to realize
how ignorant we all are most of the time,
seeing things
only from the one vantage, like a sniper.

And there were so many things
I never got to tell you about myself,
things which might have swayed you.
And the photo I never sent, taken
the night I looked almost splendid.

I wanted you to fall in love.  But the arrow
kept hitting the mirror and coming back.
And the letters kept dividing themselves
with neither half totally true.

And sadly, you never figured out
any of this, though you always wrote back
so promptly, always the same elusive letter.

I loved once, I loved twice,
and even though in our case
things never got off the ground
it was a good thing to have tried.
And I still have the letters, of course.
Sometimes I will take a few years' worth
to reread in the garden,
with a glass of iced tea.

And I feel, sometimes, part of something
very great, wholly profound and sweeping.

I loved once, I loved twice,
easily three times I loved.

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