Vita Nova

By Louise Glück b. 1943 Louise Gluck
You saved me, you should remember me.

The spring of the year; young men buying tickets for the ferryboats.
Laughter, because the air is full of apple blossoms.

When I woke up, I realized I was capable of the same feeling.

I remember sounds like that from my childhood,   
laughter for no cause, simply because the world is beautiful,
something like that.

Lugano. Tables under the apple trees.
Deckhands raising and lowering the colored flags.
And by the lake’s edge, a young man throws his hat into the water;
perhaps his sweetheart has accepted him.

Crucial
sounds or gestures like
a track laid down before the larger themes

and then unused, buried.

Islands in the distance. My mother   
holding out a plate of little cakes—

as far as I remember, changed
in no detail, the moment
vivid, intact, having never been
exposed to light, so that I woke elated, at my age   
hungry for life, utterly confident—

By the tables, patches of new grass, the pale green   
pieced into the dark existing ground.

Surely spring has been returned to me, this time   
not as a lover but a messenger of death, yet   
it is still spring, it is still meant tenderly.

Louise Glück, “Vita Nova” from Vita Nova. Copyright © 2001 by Louise Glück. Reprinted with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Source: Vita Nova (HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 1999)

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Poet Louise Glück b. 1943

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Spring, Family & Ancestors, Living, Love, Nature, Relationships, Death

 Louise  Glück

Biography

Louise Glück is considered by many to be one of America’s most talented contemporary poets. The poet Robert Hass has called her “one of the purest and most accomplished lyric poets now writing,” and her poetry is noted for its technical precision, sensitivity, and insight into loneliness, family relationships, divorce, and death. Frequently described as “spare,” James K. Robinson in Contemporary Women Poets also noted that . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Spring, Family & Ancestors, Living, Love, Nature, Relationships, Death

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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