Poem| For My Mother

Creative Corner

Poetry by: Louise Elisabeth Glück.

Annotation by Muhammad Nasrullah Khan

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Ali Ahmad by Permission

When it comes to the intensity of her feelings for her mother, Louise Elisabeth Glück outdoes any other writer.This is how she was praised after winning the Nobel Prize:

“Her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”.

Poetic expression is dominated by emotional intensity in Gluck's work. According to Helen Vendler, a renowned critic: “Louise Glück is a poet of strong and haunting presence. Her poems, published in a series of memorable books over the last twenty years, have achieved the unusual distinction of being neither ‘confessional’ nor ‘intellectual’ in the usual senses of those words.”

Here are three poems, I have chosen, to endorse the judges' statement. It is through these three poems that you will notice how the poetess transcends the personal to the universal.

“Her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”.

This is how Louise Elisabeth Glück was praised after winning the Nobel Prize:

Poetic expression is dominated by emotional intensity in Gluck's work. According to Helen Vendler, a renowned critic: “Louise Glück is a poet of strong and haunting presence. Her poems, published in a series of memorable books over the last twenty years, have achieved the unusual distinction of being neither ‘confessional’ nor ‘intellectual’ in the usual senses of those words.”

Here are three poems, I have chosen, to endorse the judges' statement. It is through these three poems that you will notice how the poetess transcends the personal to the universal.

Nocturne

Mother died last night,
Mother who never dies.
Winter was in the air,
many months away
but in the air nevertheless. It was the tenth of May.
Hyacinth and apple blossom
bloomed in the back garden. We could hear
Maria singing songs from Czechoslovakia —
How alone I am
songs of that kind.
How alone I am,
no mother, no father —
my brain seems so empty without them. Aromas drifted out of the earth;
the dishes were in the sink,
rinsed but not stacked.
Under the full moon
Maria was folding the washing;
the stiff sheets became
dry white rectangles of moonlight. How alone I am, but in music
my desolation is my rejoicing.
It was the tenth of May
as it had been the ninth, the eighth.
Mother slept in her bed,
her arms outstretched, her head
balanced between them.

~ FOR MY MOTHER ~

It was better
when we were together in one body.
Thirty years.
Screened through
the green glass of your eye,
moonlight filtered into my bones
as we lay
in the big bed,
in the dark,
waiting for my father.
Thirty years.
He closed your eyelids
with two kisses.
And then spring came
and withdrew from me
the absolute knowledge of the unborn, leaving the brick stoop where you stand, shading your
eyes,
but it is night,
the moon is stationed in the beech tree, round and white
among the small tin markers of the stars: Thirty years.
A marsh grows up around the house. Schools of spores circulate
behind the shades,
drift through gauze fluttering of vegetation.

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Photo by guille pozzi on Unsplash

~New World~

As I saw it,
all my mother’s life, my father
held her down, like
lead strapped to her ankles.
She was
buoyant by nature;
she wanted to travel,
go to theater, go to museums.
What he wanted
was to lie on the couch
with the Times
over his face,
so that death, when it came,
wouldn’t seem a significant change.
In couples like this,
where the agreement
is to do things together,
it’s always the active one
who concedes, who gives.
You can’t go to museums
with someone who won’t
open his eyes.
I thought my father’s death
would free my mother.
In a sense, it has:
she takes trips, looks at
great art. But she’s floating.
Like some child’s balloon
that gets lost the minute
it isn’t held.
Or like an astronaut
who somehow loses the ship
and has to drift in space
knowing, however long it lasts,
this is what’s left of being alive: she’s free
in that sense.
Without relation to earth.

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Muhammad Nasrullah Khan is the publisher of Creative Corner. His short stories and poems are well-recognized internationally for his unique style. His creative work has appeared in Adbusters, Evergreen review, Indiana Voice Journal, Newtopia Magazine, Gowanus Books,Offcourse literary Journal University at Albany, The Raven Chronicles, and many others. His book is available on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08D7WZXVL

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