Tag Archives: Louise Gluck

Wild Iris

The Grass Widow (Olsynium douglasii) is a member of the Iris family and the sole representative of its genus in the United States.

It grows in our pastures, blooming in late March and early April.

The Wild Iris
by Louise Gluck
At the end of my suffering
there was a door.

Hear me out: that which you call death
I remember.

Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun
flickered over the dry surface.

It is terrible to survive
as consciousness
buried in the dark earth.

Then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.

You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice:

from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure seawater

Where does the term, grass widow, in literature, derive from? Follow this link.

Poetry & Flowers



Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.

I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn’t expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring–

afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy

in the raw wind of the new world.

Louise Gluck, from her book, The Wild Iris

I think in the spirit of Emily Dickinson, and growing gardens with poetic meaning, all poetry is fitting, and so, I’d like to add another book of poems to my garden–Louise Gluck’s, The Wild Iris, the Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry in 1993.

It has been a few years since I read it, but as one of my favorites, I opened it up again and found this poem about Snowdrops (above). I think when I first read it I assumed she was talking about snowflakes, rather than a flower, but now I know better.

She has another book I’ve just started–Proofs & Theories: Essays on Poetry. And, she has a number of other books of poetry. The Wild Iris is my favorite.

The Pulitzer Prizes were recently announced and the winner for poetry is W.S. Merwin for In the Shadow of Sirius. It’s his second win–the first being The Carrier of Ladders in 1970. I’ve ordered the book–which is out of stock on Amazon waiting to be published in a second edition. You still have the opportunity to purchase it in first edition if you’re interested. I haven’t read it yet, so I can’t make a personal recommendation. Generally, I agree with the Pulitzers. One of my favorite books of poetry ever–Claudia Emerson’s, Late Wife–won a few years ago, and that’s how I found the book. I’m excited about Merwin’s work. I have high hopes. Here is a review from Publisher’s Weekly:

The nuanced mysteries of light, darkness, temporality, and eternity interweave throughout Merwin’s newest collection of poems. “I have only what I remember,” he admits, and his memories are focused and profound — well-cultivated loves, the distinct qualities of autumnal light, memories of Pennsylvania miners, a conversation with a boyhood teacher, and “our long evenings and astonishment.” From the universe’s chiaroscuro shadows, Merwin once again calls upon the language of surprise to illuminate existence. He is writing at the peak of his powers.

I also received my 1850 book, The Poetry of Flowers, which I mentioned earlier. It’s a small book, but in very good condition. I have to read through it delicately, but what a joy! The notes that someone took in it over one hundred years ago–WOW!! I love old books! And that was a rare find–on my birthday, no less. What a gift. And, it fits so perfectly with this gardening journey!

I was going to write about possible Mother’s Day Gifts today, and what they mean symbolically, but I’ll do that tomorrow instead since I’ve gotten side-tracked. We still have plenty of time to put together a thoughtful gift for our mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters–whichever mothers we honor on May 9th. This is a good time to begin thinking about it, and I’ll look forward to your memories and suggestions tomorrow.

My mom reads this blog, so there’ll be no surprises for her on Mother’s Day! We’ve often bought my mom flowers for her garden as gifts. However, this year it will be more than just a pretty flower.

If you live out of town or want to go with cut flowers–you might consider Teleflora–and you have a chance to win a beatiful bouquet on this blog by leaving comments and/or linking to your site. (1 entry for every comment and 3 for linking to your site. You can earn 3 entries every time you link.) So, link up with us and join the discussion about creating a poetic garden–a special place to be!

Questions for today–Do you have a favorite book of poetry? A favorite poem? What are your thoughts about poetry and gardening? Do you write your own? Is there a book of poems you’d like to add to your garden?