Louise Glück was born in New York City in 1943. Honours include: being a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award in Poetry; Boston Book Review's Bingham Poetry Prize and The New Yorker's Book
Award in Poetry. Pulitzer Prize, Poetry Society of America's William Carlos Williams Award; Library of Congress's Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry; the National Book Critics Circle Award,
the Boston Globe Literary Press Award, and the Poetry Society of America's Melville Kane Award. She has also published a collection of essays, Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry (1994), which won
the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction. Her honours also include the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, a Sara Teasdale Memorial Prize, the MIT Anniversary Medal
and fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, and from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently a writer-in-residence at Yale University.
Returning A Lost Child Nurse’s Song
Nothing moves. In its cage, the broken As though I’m fooled. That lacy body managed to forget
Blossom of a fan sways That I have eyes, ears; dares to spring her boyfriends on the
Limply, trickling its wire, as her thin child.
Arms, hung like flypaper, twist about the boy. This afternoon she told me,” Dress the baby in his crochet
Later, blocking the doorway, tongue Dress ,” and smiled. Just that. Just smiled,
Pinned to the fat wedge of his pop, he watches Going. She is never here. O innocence, your bathinet
As I find the other room, the father strung Is clogged with gossip, she’s a sinking ship,
On crutches, waiting to be roused... Your mother. Wouldn’t spoil her breasts.
Now squeezed from thanks the woman’s lemonade lies I hear your deaf-numb papa fussing for his tea. Sleep, sleep,
In my cup. As endlessly she picks My angel, nestled with your orange bear.
Her spent Kleenex into dust, always Scream when her lover pats your hair.
Staring at that man, hearing the click,
Click of his brain’s whirling empty spindle...
Still Life Gratitude
Father has his arm around Tereze. Do not think I am not grateful for your small
She squints. My thumb kindness to me.
is in my mouth: my fifth autumn. I like small kindnesses.
Near the copper beech In fact I prefer them to the more
the spaniel dozes in the shadows. substantial kindness, that is always eyeing you,
Not one of us does not avert his eyes. like a large animal on a rug,
until your whole life reduces
Across the lawn, in full sun, my mother to nothing but waking up morning after morning
stands behind her camera. cramped, and the bright sun shining on its tusks.
Grandmother in the Garden Early December in Croton-on-Hudson
The grass below the willow Spiked sun. The Hudson’s
Of my daughter’s wash is curled Whittled down by ice.
With earthworms, and the world I hear the bone dice
Is measured into row on row Of blown gravel clicking. Bone-
Of unspiced houses, painted to seem real. Pale, the recent snow
The drugged Long Island summer sun drains Fastens like fur to the river.
Pattern from those empty sleeves, beyond my grandson Standstill. We were leaving to deliver
Squealing in his pen. I have survived my life. Christmas presents when the tire blew
The yellow daylight lines the oak leaf Last year. Above the dead valves pines pared
And the wire vines melt with the unchanged changes Down by a storm stood, limbs bared...
Of the baby. My children have their husband’s hands. I want you.
My husband’s framed, propped bald as a baby on their pianos,
My tremendous man. I close my eyes. And all the clothes
I have thrown out come back to me, the hollows
Of my daughters’ slips...they drift; I see the sheer
Summer cottons drift, equivalent to air.
There is always something to be made of pain.
Your mother knits.
She turns out scarves in every shade of red.
They were for Christmas, and they kept you warm
while she married over and over, taking you
along. How could it work,
when all those years she stored her widowed heart
as though the dead come back.
No wonder you are the way you are,
afraid of blood, your women
like one brick wall after another.