Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Celestial Music

Louise Glück (1991)

I have a friend who still believes in heaven.
Not a stupid person, yet with all she knows, she literally talks
      to god,
she thinks someone listens in heaven.
On earth, she's unusually competent.
Brave, too, able to face unpleasantness.

We found a caterpillar dying in the dirt, greedy ants crawling
      over it.
I'm always moved by weakness, by disaster, always eager to
      oppose vitality.
But timid, also, quick to shut my eyes.
Whereas my friend was able to watch, to let events play out
according to nature. For my sake, she intervened,
brushing a few ants off the torn thing, and set it down
      across the road.

My friend says I shut my eyes to god, that nothing else
      explains
my aversion to reality. She says I'm like a child who buries
      her head in the pillow
so as to not see, the child who tells herself
that light causes sadness—
My friend is like the mother. Patient, urging me
to wake up an adult like herself, a courageous person—

In my dreams, my friend reproaches me. We're walking
on the same road, except it's winter now;

she's telling me that when you love the world you hear celestial
      music:
look up, she says. When I look up, nothing.
Only clouds, snow, a white business in the trees
like brides leaping to a great height—
Then I'm afraid for her; I see her
caught in a net deliberately cast over the earth—

In reality we sit by the side of the road, watching the sun set;
from time to time, the silence pierced by a birdcall.
It's this moment we're both trying to explain, the fact
that we're both at ease with death, with solitude.
My friend draws a circle in the dirt; inside, the caterpillar
      doesn't move.
She's always trying to make something whole, something
      beautiful, an image
capable of life apart from her.
We're very quiet. It's peaceful sitting here, not speaking, the
      composition
fixed, the road turning suddenly dark, the air
going cool, here and there the rocks shining and glittering—
it's the stillness that we both love.
The love of form is a love of endings.




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