Mother and Child

By Louise Glück b. 1943 Louise Gluck
We’re all dreamers; we don’t know who we are.

Some machine made us; machine of the world, the constricting family.
Then back to the world, polished by soft whips.

We dream; we don’t remember.

Machine of the family: dark fur, forests of the mother’s body.
Machine of the mother: white city inside her.

And before that: earth and water.
Moss between rocks, pieces of leaves and grass.

And before, cells in a great darkness.
And before that, the veiled world.

This is why you were born: to silence me.
Cells of my mother and father, it is your turn
to be pivotal, to be the masterpiece.

I improvised; I never remembered.
Now it’s your turn to be driven;
you’re the one who demands to know:

Why do I suffer? Why am I ignorant?
Cells in a great darkness. Some machine made us;
it is your turn to address it, to go back asking
what am I for? What am I for?

"Mother and Child" by Louise Glück, from The Seven Ages. Copyright © 2001 by Louise Glück. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, www.harpercollins.com.

Source: The Seven Ages (The Ecco Press, 2001)

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Poet Louise Glück b. 1943

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Religion, Living, Nature, Faith & Doubt, Relationships, Parenthood

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Persona

 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 Family & Ancestors, Religion, Living, Nature, Faith & Doubt, Relationships, Parenthood

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Persona

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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