Recently we posted Louise Gluck’s poem Lamium and we’ve also posted excerpts from other poems in her collection The Wild Iris. She’s just won the Nobel Prize for Literature “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”
Here’s a repost of our piece from 2015:
Not the sun merely, but the earth
itself shines, white fire
leaping from the showy mountains
and the flat road
shimmering in early morning
The Wild Iris was published back in 1992 and still no one has done anything like it. It’s right up there with Strauss’ Four Last Songs in its celebration of human life, love and death. These snippets are taken from four different poems.
I couldn’t do it again,
I can hardly bear to look at it –
The garden, in light rain,
the young couple planting
a row of peas, as though
no one has ever done this before,
the great difficulties
been faced and solved –
Outside, a summer evening, a whole world
thrown away on the moon: groups of silver forms
which might be buildings or trees, the narrow garden
where the cat hides, rolling on its back in the dust,
the rose, the coreopsis, and, in the dark, the gold dome of the capitol
converted to an alloy of moonlight.
All night the slender branches of the tree
shift and rustle at the bright window
In every life, there’s a moment or two.
In every life, a room somewhere, by the sea or in the mountains.
On the table, a dish of apricots. Pits in a white ashtray.
Louise Gluck The Wild Iris (Ecco Press 1992)