Vespers [In your extended absence, you permit me]

By Louise Glück b. 1943 Louise Gluck
In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.

Louise Glück, "Vespers" ["In your extended absence, you permit me"] from The Wild Iris. Copyright © 1992 by Louise Glück. Reprinted with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Source: The Wild Iris (The Ecco Press, 1992)

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Poet Louise Glück b. 1943

Subjects Religion, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Landscapes & Pastorals, Activities, Nature, Faith & Doubt, Gardening

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 Religion, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Landscapes & Pastorals, Activities, Nature, Faith & Doubt, Gardening

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Persona

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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