- Glenn Sonnenberg
Musings from the Bunker 10/17/20
It’s Poetry and Music Saturday again. The weeks seem to fly by!
Last week, Louise Gluck received the Nobel Prize for Poetry. The following are two of her poems. The first is about life and reaching middle age and mortality. The second is named for Croton-On-Hudson, the town of my mother’s childhood. I don’t think I’m smart enough to discern its meaning…
1 There was a time only certainty gave me any joy. Imagine — certainty, a dead thing.
2 And then the world, the experiment. The obscene mouth famished with love — it is like love: the abrupt, hard certainty of the end —
3 In the center of the mind, the hard pit, the conclusion. As though the fruit itself never existed, only the end, the point midway between anticipation and nostalgia —
4 So much fear. So much terror of the physical world. The mind frantic guarding the body from the passing, the temporary, the body straining against it —
5 A peach on the kitchen table. A replica. It is the earth, the same disappearing sweetness surrounding the stone end, and like the earth available —
6 An opportunity for happiness: earth we cannot possess only experience — And now sensation: the mind silenced by fruit —
7 They are not reconciled. The body here, the mind separate, not merely a warden: it has separate joys. It is the night sky, the fiercest stars are its immaculate distinctions–
8 Can it survive? Is there light that survives the end in which the mind’s enterprise continues to live: though darting about the room, above the bowl of fruit–
9 Fifty years. the night sky filled with shooting stars. Light, music from far away — I must be nearly gone. I must be stone, since the earth surrounds me —
10 There was a peach in a wicker basket. There was a bowl of fruit. Fifty years. Such a long walk from the door to the table.
Early December in Croton-On-Hudson
Spiked sun. The Hudson’s
Whittled down by ice.
I hear the bone dice
Of blown gravel clicking. Bone-
pale, the recent snow
Fastens like fur to the river.
Standstill. We were leaving to deliver
Christmas presents when the tire blew
Last year. Above the dead valves pines pared
Down by a storm stood, limbs bared . . .
I want you.
Here is a wonderful version of “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder, performed by artists from around the world “Playing for Change.”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hGSqqhhokE
Sting, with “Message in a Bottle” and other songs: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/sting-in-my-room-video-993023/