A Fantasy Poem by Louise Gluck

A Fantasy

Rating: 3.9

I'll tell you something: every day
people are dying. And that's just the beginning.
Every day, in funeral homes, new widows are born,
new orphans. They sit with their hands folded,
trying to decide about this new life.

Then they're in the cemetery, some of them
for the first time. They're frightened of crying,
sometimes of not crying. Someone leans over,
tells them what to do next, which might mean
saying a few words, sometimes
throwing dirt in the open grave.

And after that, everyone goes back to the house,
which is suddenly full of visitors.
The widow sits on the couch, very stately,
so people line up to approach her,
sometimes take her hand, sometimes embrace her.
She finds something to say to everbody,
thanks them, thanks them for coming.

In her heart, she wants them to go away.
She wants to be back in the cemetery,
back in the sickroom, the hospital. She knows
it isn't possible. But it's her only hope,
the wish to move backward. And just a little,
not so far as the marriage, the first kiss.

* Sunprincess * 06 June 2014

...........the title does not suit the poem....this poem is not fantastic...so therefore ~ a fantasy ~ does not work for this poem... a more suitable title could be.....~ reality hits home ~.....or ~ sadness prevails ~........does anyone else agree this poem needs a new title?

6 16 Reply
Karen Sinclair 06 November 2012

I like the casual start to this piece as if the writer is sharing thoughts over coffee with a friend (to me) a sad reminder that even today people this very day people are going through the unkind routine of this for the very first time....

8 0 Reply
Daniel Brick 06 November 2014

I agree with Sunprincess - the title does not fit the poem. Louise Gluck is one of very favorite poets. I have followed her poetic career since the volume THE TRIUMPH OF ACHILLES published in 1985. I cannot find any dimension of this poem that suggests fantasy. It seems all of the characters Louise Gluck identifies are confronting the reality of of death. Even at the end the widow's memories going back to the first kiss relate to actual events. If someone would argue the title is meant ironic, I cannot see any benefit to the poem from such irony. So I'm with you on this one, Sunprincess; it's puzzling.

4 2 Reply
Walterrean Salley 06 November 2014

Face to face with life and reality. Thanks.

3 3 Reply
Ken E Hall 30 March 2012

Parting is such sweet sorrow and as for the thought of the final one I push it from my mind quick as a flash, a sad reality poem+++++10 regards

5 0 Reply
Savita Tyagi 08 February 2024

This is reality of life!

0 0 Reply
MAHTAB BANGALEE 08 February 2023

But it's her only hope, the wish to move backward.~it's just hope to come back to the first everything; beautiful fantasy poem; great to read

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Kumarmani Mahakul 06 February 2023

tells them what to do next, which might mean.....birth and date is natural process. A beautiful poem is nicely executed.

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Chinedu Dike 03 August 2021

Powerfully and moving brought forth. A masterful creation.

0 0 Reply
Gangadharan Nair Pulingat 03 November 2020

This is a great poem about the death of dear ones and their grieving family members. The emotion in the situation is truly said by the great poet and likes.

0 0 Reply
Louise Gluck

Louise Gluck

New York / United States
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