Almanac Poetry: ‘The Wild Iris’ – Louise Glück




Louise Glück (1943) is an American poet who won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature. The judges praised “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”.


Glück is known for her poetry’s technical precision, sensitivity, and insight into loneliness, family relationships, divorce, and death.



The Wild Iris


At the end of my suffering
there was a door.


Hear me out: that which you call death
I remember.


Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun
flickered over the dry surface.


It is terrible to survive
as consciousness
buried in the dark earth.


Then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.


You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice:


from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure seawater.




More poetry from Almanac Poetry can be read HERE


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About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. Bill Wootton says

    What a stunning poem. The terrible beauty of death.

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