Sunday, April 19, 2009


Evening Prayers

I believe my sin
to be entirely common:
the request for help
masking request for favor
and the plea for pity
thinly veiled complaint.

So little at peace in the spring evening,
I pray for strength, for direction,
but I also ask to survive my illness
(the immediate one) -- never mind
anything in the future.
I make this a special point,
this unconcern for the future,
also the courage I will have acquired by then
to meet my suffering alone
but with heightened fortitude.

Tonight, in my unhappiness,
I wonder what qualities this presumes
in the one who listens.
And as the breeze stirs
the leaves of the little birch tree,
I construct a presence
wholly skeptical and wholly tender,
thus incapable of surprise.

I believe my sin is common, therefore
intended; I can feel
the leaves stir, sometimes
with words, sometimes without,
as though the highest form of pity
could be irony.

Bedtime, they whisper.
Time to begin lying.

-Louise Gluck


Christine said...

Thanks for sharing Gluck's poem -- how piercing those words are, how unsettling and true.

apprentice said...

This is one to read again and again. I hope life is treating you more tenderly

Pam Hart said...

Chris-Gluck is piercing and I learn a great deal from her work.

Anna-recently it's the self, so incessantly hard-hearted. Thanks for reading.