I’m posting a series of poems and excerpts from poems and essay that I love. Today’s is from Louise Gluck’s poem “Fugue,” from the book Averno. The mix of memory and myth creates magic.
I had a dream: my mother fell out of a tree.
After she died, the tree died:
it had outlived its function.
My mother was unharmed—her arrows disappeared, her wings
turned into arms. Fire creatures. Sagittarius. She finds herself in—
a suburban garden. It is coming back to me.
I put the book aside. What is a soul?
A flag flown
too high on the pole, if you know what I mean.
cowers in the dreamlike underbrush.
Well, we are here to do something about that.
(In a German accent.)
I had a dream: we are at war.
My mother leaves her crossbow in the high grass.
(Sagittarius, the archer.)
My childhood, closed to me forever,
turned gold like an autumn garden,
mulched with a thick layer of salt marsh hay.
A golden bow: a useful gift in wartime.
How heavy it was—no child could pick it up.
Except me: I could pick it up.