The White Lilies by Louise Gluck

I’m in a melancholy mood tonight and few books work that mood for me better than The Wild Iris. Of all the treasures to find in that gorgeous volume, this is my favorite:


As a man and woman make
a garden between them like
a bed of stars, here
they linger in the summer evening
and the evening turns cold with their terror: it
could all end, it is capable
of devastation. All, all
can be lost, through scented air
the narrow columns
uselessly rising, and beyond,
a churning sea of poppies–

Hush, beloved. It doesn’t matter to me
how many summers I live to return:
this one summer we have entered eternity.
I felt your two hands
bury me to release its splendor.


The Melancholy Year is Dead with Rain

This dreary weather has me thinking of a poem that I only recently read for the first time: “The Melancholy Year is Dead with Rain”, by Trumbull Stickney. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I encountered it in a draft of a wonderful new play that’s filled with poetry. I’m grateful to the playwright for introducing me to the poem and Stickney’s work. Here it is:

The melancholy year is dead with rain.
Drop after drop on every branch pursues.
From far away beyond the drizzled flues
A twilight saddens to the window pane.
And dimly thro’ the chambers of the brain,
From place to place and gently touching, moves
My one and irrecoverable love’s
Dear and lost shape one other time again.
So in the last of autumn for a day
Summer or summer’s memory returns.
So in a mountain desolation burns
Some rich belated flower, and with the gray
Sick weather, in the world of rotting ferns
From out the dreadful stones it dies away.