The Drowned Children

By Louise Glück b. 1943 Louise Gluck
You see, they have no judgment.
So it is natural that they should drown,
first the ice taking them in
and then, all winter, their wool scarves
floating behind them as they sink
until at last they are quiet.
And the pond lifts them in its manifold dark arms.

But death must come to them differently,
so close to the beginning.
As though they had always been
blind and weightless. Therefore
the rest is dreamed, the lamp,
the good white cloth that covered the table,
their bodies.

And yet they hear the names they used
like lures slipping over the pond:
What are you waiting for
come home, come home, lost
in the waters, blue and permanent.

"The Drowned Children" by Louise Glück, from The First Four Books of Poems. Copywright © 1968. 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1985, 1995 by Louise Glück. Used by the permission of HarperCollins Publishers, www.harpercollins.com.

Source: The First Four Books of Poems (The Ecco Press, 1995)

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Poet Louise Glück b. 1943

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, Youth, Death

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Elegy

 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 Living, Youth, Death

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Elegy

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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