Summer

The first hot days of the year made me look for a poem about summer. Never expected I’d come across this one by Louise Glück. Last year, this American poet won the Noble Prize in Literature. Reading this poem, I can understand why. Images of summer and autumn linked to feelings of desire and isolation make this an emotionally intense poem. Or at least, that’s what it did for me. The heat seemed to weigh me down a bit more but if it’s because of poetry like this, I don’t really seem to mind anymore.

Remember the days of our first happiness,
how strong we were, how dazed by passion,
lying all day, then all night in the narrow bed,
sleeping there, eating there too: it was summer,
it seemed everything had ripened
at once. And so hot we lay completely uncovered.
Sometimes the wind rose; a willow brushed the window.

But we were lost in a way, didn’t you feel that?
The bed was like a raft; I felt us drifting
far from our natures, toward a place where we’d discover nothing.
First the sun, then the moon, in fragments,
stone through the willow.
Things anyone could see.

Then the circles closed. Slowly the nights grew cool;
the pendant leaves of the willow
yellowed and fell. And in each of us began
a deep isolation, though we never spoke of this,
of the absence of regret.
We were artists again, my husband.
We could resume the journey.

Louise Glück


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