As I perceive
I am dying now and know
I will not speak again, will not
survive the earth, be summoned
out of it again, not
a flower yet, a spine only, raw dirt
catching my ribs, I call you,
father and master: all around,
my companions are failing, thinking
you do not see. How
can they know you see
unless you save us?
In the summer twilight, are you
close enough to hear
your child’s terror? Or
are you not my father,
you who raised me?

Analysis, meaning and summary of Louise Glück's poem The Gold Lily

1 Comment

  1. Patrick Early says:

    In Wild Iris, the collection, Gluck takes the garden as a metaphor for life-in-the-world (with all the resonance of Garden of Eden etc) . In the garden we hear voices of the flowers who are subject to mortal existence, budding, flowering, fading, dying away. Like humans (like the Old Testament psalmists) the flowers complain about their lot : why should they be picked out for existence, why flourish, why die? Sometimes the poet seems to want to speak in her own voice. Sometimes, the Father replies, not always very charitably. He is losing interest in his creation. Apparently He is irritated or bored. Also in the garden (in Wild Iris the collection) there appear the figures of two men, husband and son. bent over the flower beds weeding. Gardening is an analogy for life and work, for the general contingency of living. It is difficult to establish who or what is speaking as there
    are conflicting voices making themselves heard.

    The poems are full of a sense of disappointment and loss, but also a kind of lucid courage. Sometimes the poet herself addresses the father, as a child who addresses an adult who is not listening, knowing she is unlikely to capture his attention and get an answer.A devout religious sense (not at all orthodox ) seems to be at work here, without much to go on, much “feedback” from beyond. Needs reading

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