Saturday, October 31, 2020

Louise Glück: "All Hallows"


It's Halloween and I'm posting one of my favorite poems of the season, by Louise Glück, who was recently awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, called "All Hallows."



The poem evokes an uncanny/eerie edge to the beauty of the mid-autumn night. 



For me, Halloween or All Hallow's Eve, rides the balance between the beauty of a spiritual ritual and an eerie ghost-ridden chaos.


All Hallow's and All Hallow's Eve, was first established in the Catholic Calendar in Europe in the 9th Century.

This is the night before All Saint's Day or All Soul's Day, when all saints - known and unknown - are celebrated, honored. 

The current North American Halloween celebration is possibly related to a merging of both All Saint's Day Eve (with vigil and fasting) and Samhain (a Celtic festival feast marking the beginning of winter), where it was believed that on this night the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead become very thin.


Here's the poem. From Glück's book "The House on Marshland."

All Hallows

Even now this landscape is assembling.
The hills darken. The oxen
sleep in their blue yoke,
the fields having been
picked clean, the sheaves
bound evenly and piled at the roadside
among cinquefoil, as the toothed moon rises:

This is the barrenness
of harvest or pestilence.
And the wife leaning out the window
with her hand extended, as in payment,
and the seeds
distinct, gold, calling
Come here
Come here, little one

And the soul creeps out of the tree.



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