Sunday, February 28, 2010

Crocus Leaves in the Grass! And a Gluck Poem

You gotta look hard, especially when you aren't used to looking for anything the last 4 months, but they are everywhere. Snow crocus. Just behind the melting snow line. Snow-less crocus.


There was an apple tree in the yard --
this would have been
forty years ago -- behind,
only meadows. Drifts
of crocus in the damp grass.
I stood at that window:
late April. Spring
flowers in the neighbor's yard.
How many times, really, did the tree
flower on my birthday,
the exact day, not
before, not after? Substitution
of the immutable
for the shifting, the evolving.
Substitution of the image
for relentless earth. What
do I know of this place,
the role of the tree for decades
taken by a bonsai, voices
rising from the tennis courts --
Fields. Smell of the tall grass, new cut.
As one expects of a lyric poet.
We look at the world once, in childhood.
The rest is memory.

-- Louise Gluck

(It's a busy week ahead, tons of student conferences, sorting student entries for our annual dept. literary awards, prep work for my KS research trip, and visiting writers auditioning to captain Prairie Schooner--UNL's national literary journal--into new waters as editor-in-chief. Change is everywhere. Alas, it doesn't come in $100 bills.)


James Golden said...

I like coming here and finding something I otherwise wouldn't have known.

Benjamin Vogt said...

James--I trust you mean that you've discovered I am an incredibly wonderful person with great charm, wit, talent, and a certain magnetic je ne sais quoi. said...

Benjamin-this is first time I have posted, but I certainly love coming here and reading your blog.. It always provides some interesting information. Keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

I just went and looked up some images of snow crocuses, as I'm not familiar with the variety. They look like they would make a beautiful carpet on the landscape when in flower!

Susan Tomlinson said...

Thanks for the poem, Benjamin. I needed it today.

Good luck on the memoir. Ill keep my fingers crossed.

Pam said...

I love Louise Gluck.

And good luck on the memoir - exciting! Change is indeed everywhere - there's this odd sense of change swirling around immovable objects in my world. Lots of resistance still.

The crocus is a good sign.

Town Mouse said...

Ah, I should have a poem with breakfast every day. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Dear Benjamin, Thank you for picking my latest posting, through which I have found you.

It is to my shame that I only know a little about Louise Gluck, but shall look her up to find out more. I found of particular interest her thought that we only look at things once in childhood. It is certainly true for me that in the very early spring when there is relatively little in flower, I observe things much more closely than when summer brings so many distractions.

Thank you for a stimulating read.

Jehanne Dubrow said...

I am dying of curiousity about the latest PS news. Hilda is, of course, irreplaceable. So, how on earth are they going to replace her! I guess we'll learn soon enough...

Layanee said...

Respite from the flurry of daily activity. I can smell the fresh cut grass now so thanks.