Louise Glück, “Presque Isle”

If you don’t check in regularly to A Writer’s Alchemy, you’ll want to scroll down (or click on the link) to take a look at THE BIG POETRY GIVEAWAY. In honor of National Poetry Month, I am giving away copies of my books, and a FEW others (not just the Hirshfield). See the original post for more information, but all you have to do in order to take part in the drawing at the end of April, is leave a comment — or email me.

For today, here is a poem by Louise Glück, winner of last year’s National Book Award for Poetry. This poem makes me think of something my teacher, Nelson Bentley, used to say, “Recurring memories are poems, asking to be written.”


In every life, there’s a moment or two.
In every life, a room somewhere, by the sea or in the mountains.

On the table, a dish of apricots. Pits in a white ashtray.

Like all images, these were the conditions of a pact:
on your cheek, tremor of sunlight,
my finger pressing your lips.
The walls blue-white; paint from the low bureau flaking a little.

That room must still exist, on the fourth floor,
with a small balcony overlooking the ocean.
A square white room, the top sheet pulled back over the edge of the bed.
It hasn’t dissolved back into nothing, into reality.
Through the open window, sea air, smelling of iodine.

Early morning: a man calling a small boy back from the water.
That small boy — he would be twenty now.

Around your face, rushes of damp hair, streaked with auburn.
Muslin, flicker of silver. Heavy jar filled with white peonies.

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