Poetry Wednesday – Louise Glück (2)

All Hallows
by Louise Glück

Even now this landscape is assembling.
The hills darken. The oxen
sleep in their blue yoke,
the fields having been
picked clean, the sheaves
bound evenly and piled at the roadside
among cinquefoil, as the toothed moon rises:
This is the barrenness
of harvest or pestilence.
And the wife leaning out the window
with her hand extended, as in payment,
and the seeds
distinct, gold, calling
Come here
Come here, little one
And the soul creeps out of the tree.
I know I’ve featured Louise Glück on Poetry Wednesday before, but when I came up with the idea to do a series of creepy poems for October, this one was easily my favorite. It’s chilling, frightening and all the things that a good Halloween poem should be, but it doesn’t seem to actually be about something frightening. Like the last poem we discussed by Glück, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what she is referring to, but that goes well with the transformative nature of autumn. There is no difference between the sight of a field barren from harvest and barren from pestilence. In the same way a tree becomes bare and different, the simple imagery of a woman leaning out her window becomes sinister. And that last line! I’m not exactly sure what it’s referring to, though it could be as simple as the leaves falling from the tree, but the way it is written certainly gave me chills!

2 thoughts on “Poetry Wednesday – Louise Glück (2)

  1. Ah! I love Louise Gluck! I had to read some of her poetry for a class about Emily Dickinson. That last line is absolutely divine. I imagine a black, foggy mass slowly rumbling out from the roots of a tree. Or something like that. 🙂

    1. Not that I have any real reason to think so, but that last lines evokes a bunch of crows taking flight for me – which fits with the creepy halloween theme. This poem seems really different for Gluck – I guess everything I have read by her to date has focused more on the humans.

      I really love her writing though I don’t know as much about her as I should – I am intrigued to hear about the EM connection, wondering more about that? What did you read, and why was it presented in a Dickinson class (hope this isn’t a totally ignorant question!!!). I see some obvious overlap in theme or maybe Gluck has been influenced by EM, but just wondering if there is more to it than that?

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