Long ago, I was wounded. I lived
to revenge myself
against my father, not
for what he was–
for what I was: from the beginning of time,
in childhood, I thought
that pain meant
I was not loved.
It meant I loved.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Louise Glück's poem First Memory


  1. Johanna Rouweler says:

    The last line is the most important line, of the whole verse, I believe. It is a kind of revelation. It says that she was capable to love. She could give an explanation for the fact that she missed the love from her father, which is painful. Long ago.

  2. Heero says:

    I agree. It is a wonderful poem. I was in Language Arts today when my teacher shared it with us (luckily, just for fun, or I might not like it). When I heard it, I immediately understood. A classmate said that she couldn’t get it, but I did right away. I love this poem now. It has calmed my heart. Before, I wondered whether I was a good person. I was unsure if I loved my parents or not. But this poem affirmed that I did. It showed me that the lonely pain they give me at times was because I love them, not because I was a monster whom they did not love nor I love them. No, it proved otherwise, and I am joyous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Louise Glück better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.