Louise Gluck

Louise Gluck

Brown Circle


My mother wants to know

why, if I hate

family so much,

I went ahead and

had one.  I don’t

answer my mother.

What I hated

was being a child,

having no choice about

what people I loved.


I don’t love my son

the way I meant to love him.

I thought I’d be

the lover of orchids who finds

red trillium growing

in the pine shade, and doesn’t

touch it, doesn’t need

to possess it.  What I am

is the scientist,

who comes to that flower

with a magnifying glass

and doesn’t leave, though

the sun burns a brown

circle of grass around

the flower.  Which is

more or less the way

my mother loved me.


I must learn

to forgive my mother,

now that I am helpless

to spare my son.



From ARARAT (The Ecco Press, 1990)



Poems by Louise Glück

Penelope's Song

Brown Circle



First Memory
(Available as a broadside.)