Tuesday Poem: “Matins” by Louise Gluck

Matins

You want to know how I spend my time?
I walk the front lawn, pretending
to be weeding. You ought to know
I’m never weeding, on my knees, pulling
clumps of clover from the flower beds: in fact
I’m looking for courage, for some evidence
my life will change, though
it takes forever, checking
each clump for the symbolic
leaf, and soon the summer is ending, already
the leaves turning, always the sick trees
going first, the dying turning
brilliant yellow, while a few dark birds perform
their curfew of music. You want to see my hands?
As empty now as at the first note.
Or was the point always
to continue without a sign?

I’ve just finished reading The Wild Iris (1992), Gluck’s Pulitzer Prize winning collection of poetry about faith and gardens. The title of this poem refers to a morning prayer, usually just before of after sunrise. In the collection there are seven poems with the title “Mantin,” which to me speaks of the changeability of not only our prayers, but of the natural world.

You can check out other poems at the Tuesday Poem hub.


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