A Village Life by Louise Glück

By Louise Glück

A Village existence, Louise Glück's 11th choice of poems, starts off within the topography of a village, a Mediterranean global of no certain second or place:

All the roads within the village unite on the fountain.

Avenue of Liberty, street of the Acacia Trees—

The fountain rises on the middle of the plaza;

on sunny days, rainbows within the piss of the cherub.

—from "tributaries"

Around the fountain are concentric circles of figures, geared up via age and in levels of distance: fields, a river, and, just like the fountain's contrary, a mountain. Human time superimposed on geologic time, all taken in at a look, with none undue sensation of pace.

Glück has been referred to as a lyrical and dramatic poet; seeing that Ararat, she has formed her austere intensities into book-length sequences. right here, for the 1st time, she speaks as "the form of describing, supervising intelligence present in novels instead of poetry," as Langdon Hammer has written of her lengthy lines—expansive, fluent, and full—manifesting a peaceful omniscience. whereas Glück's demeanour is novelistic, she focuses now not on motion yet on pauses and periods, moments of suspension (rather than suspense), in a dreamlike current annoying during which poetic hypothesis and mirrored image are attainable.

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Wordsworth's 'Prelude,* from the cliff that "upreared its head' in the night above Ullswater to the "blue chasm' that was the 'soul* of the moonlit cloudscape beneath his feet on Snowdon, is the archpoet's testament, both theory and demonstration of this way of reading nature. His "Tintern Abbey' is another classic instance, a whole pantheistic poem woven of the landscape, where God is not once mentioned. After the 'soft inland murmur,' the "one green hue,' the "wreaths of smoke . . as ... Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods' (always something just out of sight or beyond definition), it is an easy leap to the "still, sad music of humanity,' and a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused.

Earlier poets had launched their epics by invoking for inspiration a 39 ENGLISH KOMANTIC POETS Muse, Apollo, or the Holy Spirit, Wordsworth's opening lines, which have an identical function, are: Oh there is blessing in this gentle breeze That blows from the green fields and from the clouds And from the sky . . Released at last from the city and the oppressive weight of the past, the poet says 'I breathe again"; but so, we find, is nature breathing, in a passage where the wind becomes both the stimulus and outer correspondent to a spring-like revival of the spirit after a wintry season, and also to a revival of poetic inspiration which Wordsworth, going beyond Coleridge, equates with the inspiration of the Prophets when touched by the Holy Spirit.

Revised version copyright © 1960 by M. H. Abrams. 37 ENGLISH BOMANTIC POETS the renewal of life and emotional vigor after apathy and a deathlike torpor, and an outburst of creative power following a period of imaginative sterility. Coleridge's Dejection: An Ode, written in 1802, provides the earliest inclusive instance of this symbolic equation. The poetic meditation is set in April, which turns out, as in Eliot's Waste Land, to be the crudest month because, in breeding Me out of the dead laud, it painfully revives emotional life in the observer, miring memory and desire.

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