Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday Poem: "The Undertaking" by Louise Gluck



The darkness lifts, imagine, in your lifetime.
There you are - cased in clean bark you drift
through weaving rushes, fields flooded with cotton.
You are free. The river films with lilies,
shrubs appear, shoots thicken into palm. And now
all fear gives way: the light
looks after you, you feel the waves' goodwill
as arms widen over the water; Love

the key is turned. Extend yourself -
it is the Nile, the sun is shining,
everywhere you turn is luck.

by Louise Gluck

This is a beautiful poem, rich in its simplicity and yet awash with imagery of light and water. It can be interpreted in a number of ways, but I imagine it as the final journey, like an ancient Egyptian, the "you" is floated off down the Nile, with all the troubles of life washed away in the embrace of a peaceful death.

I love that image: "The river films with lilies" and how the "you" of the poem feels "the waves' goodwill". Beautifully economic and, paradoxically, expansive.



For more information about poet, Louise Gluck, see:


1 comment:

  1. I love her punctuation--nobody plays a colon and a semi-colon more finely than Gluck.

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