Sunday, October 18, 2020

Landscape by Louise Glück


Time passed, turning everything to ice.
Under the ice, the future stirred.
If you fell into it, you died.
It was a time
of waiting, of suspended action.
I lived in the present, which was
that part of the future you could see.
The past floated above my head,
like the sun and moon, visible but never reachable.
It was a time
governed by contradictions, as in
I felt nothing and
I was afraid.
Winter emptied the trees, filled them again with snow.
Because I couldn’t feel, snow fell, the lake froze over.
Because I was afraid, I didn’t move;
my breath was white, a description of silence.
Time passed, and some of it became this.
And some of it simply evaporated;
you could see it float above the white trees
forming particles of ice.
All your life, you wait for the propitious time.
Then the propitious time
reveals itself as action taken.
I watched the past move, a line of clouds moving
from left to right or right to left,
depending on the wind. Some days
there was no wind. The clouds seemed
to stay where they were,
like a painting of the sea, more still than real.
Some days the lake was a sheet of glass.
Under the glass, the future made
demure, inviting sounds;
you had to tense yourself so as not to listen.
Time passed; you got to see a piece of it.
The years it took with it were years of winter;
they would not be missed. Some days
there were no clouds, as though
the sources of the past had vanished. The world
was bleached, like a negative; the light passed
directly through it. Then
the image faded.
Above the world
there was only blue, blue everywhere.

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