Louise Gluck

(22 April 1943 / New York / United States)

Lullaby - Poem by Louise Gluck

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My mother's an expert in one thing:
sending people she loves into the other world.
The little ones, the babies--these
she rocks, whispering or singing quietly. I can't say
what she did for my father;
whatever it was, I'm sure it was right.

It's the same thing, really, preparing a person
for sleep, for death. The lullabies--they all say
don't be afraid, that's how they paraphrase
the heartbeat of the mother.
So the living grow slowly calm; it's only
the dying who can't, who refuse.

The dying are like tops, like gyroscopes--
they spin so rapidly they seem to be still.
Then they fly apart: in my mother's arms,
my sister was a cloud of atoms, of particles--that's the difference.
When a child's asleep, it's still whole.

My mother's seen death; she doesn't talk about the soul's integrity.
She's held an infant, an old man, as by comparison the dark grew
solid around them, finally changing to earth.

The soul's like all matter:
why would it stay intact, stay faithful to its one form,
when it could be free?


Comments about Lullaby by Louise Gluck

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (11/27/2016 10:12:00 AM)

    Congrats for the POTD
    Excellent poem and feeling sleepy after this lullaby..10 (Report) Reply

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  • Pranab K Chakraborty (11/27/2016 5:37:00 AM)


    The dying are like tops, like gyroscopes-
    they spin so rapidly they seem to be still.............So brilliant the wit to expose big thing within a limit of no expanse. Thanks.
    (Report) Reply

  • Muzahidul Reza (11/27/2016 5:29:00 AM)


    My mother's an expert in one thing:
    sending people she loves into the other world.
    excellent written, thank you for sharing this poem with us
    (Report) Reply

  • Indira Renganathan (11/27/2016 4:37:00 AM)


    Interesting spiritual poem- -10 (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (11/27/2016 3:40:00 AM)

    Body, siprit and soul!
    The Creator owns the spirit! He created everything. Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (11/27/2016 2:02:00 AM)


    Soul, spirit, and body are the three elements of a human being...... The soul is not immortal. Like the physical body, it dies..... The spirit returns to God.... (Report) Reply

  • (5/14/2014 9:26:00 PM)


    An interesring poem which brings up again that age old question......what exactly is the soul? (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: mother, sister, death, father, child, sleep, people, dark, world, children, baby, change



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



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