The Seven Ages
The fierce, austerely beautiful, and visionary voice that has become Glück's
trademark speaks in these poems of a life lived in unflinching awareness.
Many of the poems in this collection bear the familiar features of Glück's
earlier work, returning to themes of nature and the classical narratives
The poems about childhood, "Time" and "Unpainted Door" were poignant.
"Ripe Peach" about the mind taking joy in possibility was also brilliant. It also touched on being present in the moment.
I so identify with the themes that keep coming up in Gluck's poetry. I've read most of her books now. Wild Iris is ...more
"There was a time/Only certainty gave me/any joy. Imagine-/
certainty, a dead thing."
This is a but of example of the wise and beautiful poetry that is Louise Gluck's "The Seven Ages".
Speaking of the separation of body and soul in the poem, "Mitosis":
"But at some point the mind lingered./It wanted more time by the sea, more time in the fields/gathering wildflowers."
Or "The Muse of Happiness": "And darkness delayed by the season./So ...more
This collection, like most of Gluck's work, uses simple language in a way that strips existential nostalgia down to its tactile core. She says it well in the poem "Moonbeam":
"You are like me, whether or not you admit it./ Unsatisfied, meticulous . And your hunger is not for experience/ but for understanding, as though it could be had in the abstract."
The lovers smooth their hair; the moon resumes its hollow existence.
And the beach belongs again to mysterious birds
soon to appear on postage stamps.
But what of our memories, the memories of those who depend on
Do they count for nothing?
The mist rose, taking back proof of love.
Without which we have only the mirror, you and I.
(originally published in the NASHVILLE SCENE)
Glück is the author of twelve books of poetry, including: "A Village Life" (2009); Averno (2006), which was a finalist for The National Book Award; The Seven Ages (2001); Vita Nova (1999), which was awarded The New Yorker's Book Award in Poetr ...more
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of time as a continuum, as something coming to an end,
not a suspension: the senses wouldn’t protect me.
I caution you as I was never cautioned:
you will never let go, you will never be satiated.
You will be damaged and scarred, you will continue to hunger.
Your body will age, you will continue to need.
You will want the earth, then more of the earth–
Sublime, indifferent, it is present, it will not respond.
It is encompassing, it will not minister.
Meaning, it will feed you, it will ravish you,
it will not keep you alive.”
surely these are the great, the inexhaustible subjects
to which my predecessors apprenticed themselves.
I hear them echo in my own heart, disguised as convention.”