Poetry Sunday: The Wild Iris by Louise Glück
American poet Louise Glück was announced as the winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for Literature this week. The Nobel committee cited her "unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal." She is considered by many to be one of America's most talented contemporary poets. Her poetry is marked by technical precision, sensitivity, and insight into loneliness, family relationships, divorce, and death. Here is one of her most famous poems which describes what it means to live, die, and be reborn again an endless number of times as a flower. A wild iris.
The Wild Iris
by Louise Glück
At the end of my suffering
there was a door.
Hear me out: that which you call death
Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun
flickered over the dry surface.
It is terrible to survive
buried in the dark earth.
Then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.
You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice:
from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure seawater.