Happiness – Louise Gluck

A man and a woman lie on a white bed.
It is morning. I think
Soon they will waken.
On the bedside table is a vase
of lilies; sunlight
pools in their throats.
I watch him turn to her
as though to speak her name
but silently, deep in her mouth–
At the window ledge,
once, twice,
a bird calls.
And then she stirs; her body
fills with his breath.

I open my eyes; you are watching me.
Almost over this room
the sun is gliding.
Look at your face, you say,
holding your own close to me
to make a mirror.
How calm you are. And the burning wheel
passes gently over us.

The Pond – Louise Gluck

Night covers the pond with its wing.
Under the ringed moon I can make out
your face swimming among minnows and the small
echoing stars. In the night air
the surface of the pond is metal.

Within, your eyes are open. They contain
a memory I recognize, as though
we had been children together. Our ponies
grazed on the hill, they were gray
with white markings. Now they graze
with the dead who wait
like children under their granite breastplates,
lucid and helpless:

The hills are far away. They rise up
blacker than childhood.
What do you think of, lying so quietly
by the water? When you look that way I want
to touch you, but do not, seeing
as in another life we were of the same blood.

Poem – Old Poem

Did Chuang Chou dream he was the butterfly?
Or the butterfly dream he was Chuang Chou?
In the single body’s transformations
See the vortex of the Myriad Creatures.
No mystery then that the Magic Seas
Shrank again to crystal streams,
Or down by Ch’ang-an’s Green Gate
The gardener was Marquis of Tung-Ling.
If this is the fate of fame and power,
What is it for- this endless striving?

Hope And Despair – Lascelles Abercrombie

Said God, ‘You sisters, ere ye go 

Down among men, my work to do, 

I will on each a badge bestow: 

Hope I love best, and gold for her, 

Yet a silver glory for Despair, 

For she is my angel too.’ 

Then like a queen, Despair 

Put on the stars to wear. 

But Hope took ears of corn, and round 

Her temples in a wreath them bound.– 

Which think ye lookt the more fair?