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Louise Glück: a poem

Photograph © Katherine Wolkoff


Leo Cruz makes the most beautiful white bowls; I think I must get some to you but how is the question in these times

He is teaching me the names of the desert grasses; I have a book since to see the grasses is impossible

Leo thinks the things man makes are more beautiful than what exists in nature

and I say no. And Leo says wait and see.

We make plans to walk the trails together. When, I ask him, when? Never again: that is what we do not say.

He is teaching me to live in imagination:

a cold wind blows as I cross the desert; I can see his house in the distance; smoke is coming from the chimney

That is the kiln, I think; only Leo makes porcelain in the desert

Ah, he says, you are dreaming again

And I say then I'm glad I dream the fire is still alive

"Song" is from Winter Recipes from the Collective, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2021. Louise Glück is the author of twelve books of poems and two collections of essays. She received the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature "for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal." Her other awards include the National Humanities Medal, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Bollingen Prize, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, and the Gold Medal for Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She teaches at Yale University and Stanford University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


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