Page 35 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 49

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step closer to the edge of truth,
then I am ready for the dawn
that calls a sullen boy from sleep
rubbing his eyes on a white window
and knowing none of it can last the day.
Why am I so quiet?
. . Everyone
else is gone, their last words
reach us in the language of light
. . . Each day
this is what we waken to, a water
like wind bearing the voices of the world,
the generations of the unborn chanting
in the language of fire. This will be
tomorrow. Why am I so quiet?
The apocalyptic concession, the sense o f quiet before the storm,
is the same sense o f awe and wonder that precedes n a tu re ’s
daily re-birthing in that moment directly before sunrise.
Ironically, Louise Gluck prefaces her latest collection,
(1990) with the following quote from Plato: “ . . . human natu re
was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and
pursuit o f the whole is called love.” Simply stated, this is the
metaphysical doctrine o f unity, the concept o f cosmic commu­
nion that portrays hum ankind as the divine manifestation o f
perfection in which the kingdom o f God is within and without,
equally and unequivocally. How curious that this collection o f
mythical family poems focusing for the main part on death and
fear o f dying, should be introduced with an evocation to eternal
love as well as a statement that clearly denies mortality by re ­
placing it with the Cosmic Soul-consciousness o f spiritual regen ­
A typical poem that expresses human estrangement, “A Nov­
el,” describes a family in which the death o f its single male mem­
ber stultifies the female survivors. They cannot even criticize
the hero. The problem is
he’s weak; his scenes specify
his function but not his nature.