What do you yearn for?
Here’s a little poem by Louise Glück that made me think twice…
Suddenly, after you die, those friends
who never agreed about anything
agree about your character.
they’re like a houseful of singers rehearsing
the same score:
you were just, you were kind, you lived a fortunate life.
No harmony. No counterpoint. Except
they’re not performances;
real tears are shed.
Luckily, you’re dead; otherwise
you’d be overcome with revulsion.
but when that’s passed,
when the guests begin filing out, wiping their eyes
because, after a day like this,
shut in with orthodoxy,
the sun’s amazingly bright,
though it’s late afternoon, September –
when the exodus begins,
that’s when you’d feel
pangs of envy.
Your friends the living embrace one another,
gossip a little on the sidewalk
as the sun sinks, and the evening breeze
ruffles the women’s shawls –
this, this, is the meaning of
“a fortunate life”: it means
to exist in the present.
* * *
From the beautiful collection:
Wow. This one really grabs you. Thank you for sharing. The photos are a perfect counterbalance.
A very moving and thought provoking piece.
This morning I woke up to a message from a childhood friend that her mother had died. A group of us texted back-and-forth memories and condolences. Then I read this observant poem. The older I get, the more I’m struck by this dance between living and dying.
Beautiful metaphor… the dance… and I’m sure your childhood friend was deeply grateful for your love this morning… xoxo
So powerful! Such a struggle to live in the present.
It is for me, Varina. The temptation is to toggle between the past and the future. I am trying to change my thinking. Xoxo
My first thought was the exact same as Lawrence’s. Wow. Makes you think, doesn’t it….
I’m glad to hear from you, Carolyn! And so glad you enjoyed this too. Xoxo
So beautiful. Especially poignant after having experienced a funeral this week that took me back into another place, another time.