Category Archives: Poems

“When My Desire Grows Too Fierce”

Ono no Komachi

When My Desire Grows Too Fierce
Ono no Komachi

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Louise Glück

This is how you live when you have a cold heart.
As I do: in shadows, trailing over cool rock,
under the great maple trees.

The sun hardly touches me.
Sometimes I see it in early spring, rising very far away.
Then leaves grow over it, completely hiding it. I feel it
glinting through the leaves, erratic,
like someone hitting the side of a glass with a metal spoon.

Living things don’t all require
light in the same degree. Some of us
make our own light: a silver leaf
like a path no one can use, a shallow
lake of silver in the darkness under the great maples.

But you know this already.
You and the others who think
you live for truth and, by extension, love
all that is cold.

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Louise Glück

I see it is with you as with the birches:
I am not to speak to you
in the personal way. Much
has passed between us. Or
was it always only
on the one side? I am
at fault, at fault, I asked you
to be human–I am no needier
than other people. But the absence
of all feeling, of the least
concern for me–I might as well go on
addressing the birches,
as in my former life: let them
do their worst, let them
bury me with the Romantics,
their pointed yellow leaves
falling and covering me.

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“The Wall”

I wish I could write
something meaningful.

Alas, my neurons communicate
in coded bursts

like a toddler who scribbles the wall
to show she loves you.


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