Elms

By Louise Glück b. 1943 Louise Gluck
All day I tried to distinguish
need from desire. Now, in the dark,
I feel only bitter sadness for us,
the builders, the planers of wood,
because I have been looking
steadily at these elms
and seen the process that creates
the writhing, stationary tree
is torment, and have understood
it will make no forms but twisted forms.

"Elms" by Louise Glück, from The First Four Books of Poems. Copyright © 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, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Nature, Relationships, Trees & Flowers, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Epigram, Metaphor

 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, Disappointment & Failure, Love, Nature, Relationships, Trees & Flowers, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Epigram, Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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