Louise Glück’ Parados

Yesterday (see here) I talked about the last poem from Louise Glück’s collection “Ararat” , the book that traces her inner journey in the aftermath of her sister’s and father’s deaths. In the shadow of these deaths, the poet forces herself to look back on her childhood in order understand herself in the present.
It is an attempt to rely on her memory to try to resolve her psychological crisis on a journey in which there will be hard-earned epiphanies, such as that of yesterday’s poem, the last from the book, which is titled “First Memory”.

Today ‘s poem is “Parodos,” the first in the collection. It begins with “Long ago, I was wounded,” a line echoed at the beginning of “First Memory”, and introduces the book’s unifying themes: memory and pain.

Long ago, I was wounded.
I learned
to exist, in reaction,
out of touch
with the world: I’ll tell you
what I meant to be-
a device that listened.
Not inert: still.
A piece of wood. A stone.

Why should I tire myself, debating, arguing?
Those people breathing in the other beds
could hardly follow, being
uncontrollable
like any dream-
Through the blinds, I watched
the moon in the night sky, shrinking and swelling-

I was born to a vocation:
to bear witness
to the great mysteries.
Now that I’ve seen both
birth and death, I know
to the dark nature these
are proofs, not
mysteries-

Louise Glück begins to reveal her internal conflict, the one that makes her “still” like “a piece of wood. A stone”, devoid of any reaction.
Perhaps she painfully hopes to resolve it, even if she romanticises her detachment and her emotional damage, by telling herself a desperate justification, namely that as a poet, she was “born to a vocation: / to bear witness / to the great mysteries … birth and death.”
But her intentions turned out to be a sad illusion when she realized that that birth and death are actually “proofs, not / mysteries”.

The title of the poem, which closely resembles the word “paradox”, may refer to a fortification such as a bank built behind a trench to protect soldiers from a surprise attack from the rear.
It can also indicate either a side entrance to an ancient Greek theatre or the ode sung by the chorus as it enters the stage.

Ieri (vedere qui) ho parlato dell’ultima poesia della raccolta di Louise Glück dal titolo “Ararat”, un libro che ripercorre il suo viaggio interiore all’indomani della morte della sorella e del padre. All’ombra di quelle morti, la poetessa si sforza di guardare al suo passato per cercare di capire se stessa nel presente.
E’ un tentativo di affidarsi alla memoria per tentare di risolvere la sua crisi psicologica in un viaggio in cui non mancheranno epifanie duramente guadagnate, come quella della poesia di ieri, l‘ultima dal libro, intitolata però “Il primo ricordo”.

La poesia di oggi è intitolata “Parodos”, ed è la prima della raccolta. Anch’essa inizia con “Molto tempo fa, fui ferita” , verso riecheggiato all’inizio di “First Memory”, e introduce i temi unificanti del libro: memoria e dolore.

Molto tempo fa, fui ferita.
Imparai
a esistere, per reazione,
senza contatti
con il mondo: vi dirò
che cosa volevo essere-
un congegno che ascoltava.
Non inerte: immobile.
Un pezzo di legno. Una pietra.

Perché dovrei stancarmi a discutere, a ribattere?
Quelli che respiravano negli altri letti
difficilmente avrebbero potuto seguirmi, essendo
incontrollabili
come lo sono i sogni-
Attraverso le persiane, guardavo
nel cielo la luna notturno restringersi e gonfiarsi-

Sono nata con una vocazione:
rendere testimonianza
ai grandi misteri.
Ora che ho visto sia
nascita che morte, so
che per l’oscura natura queste
sono prove, non
misteri-

(trad: L.Z,)

Louise Glück comincia a rivelare il suo conflitto interiore, quello che la rende immobile come un pezzo di legno o una pietra, senza reazioni.
Forse spera dolorosamente di risolverlo, anche se romanticizza il suo distacco e i suoi danni emotivi raccontandosi una giustificazione disperata, cioè che come poetessa è “nata con una vocazione: / rendere testimonianza / ai grandi misteri … nascita e morte”.
Ma le sue intenzioni si sono rivelate una dolorosa illusione, essendosi resa conto che nascita e morte sono in realtà “prove, non/misteri”.

Il titolo della poesia, che ricorda da vicino la parola “paradosso”, potrebbe riferirsi a una fortificazione come un terrapieno costruito dietro una trincea per proteggere i soldati da un attacco a sorpresa dalle retrovie.
Inoltre può anche indicare un ingresso laterale a un teatro greco antico o l’ode cantata dal coro alla sua entrata in scena.

75 thoughts on “Louise Glück’ Parados

  1. Interessanti le analisi che stai portando avanti sulle condizioni psicologiche della Glük, che si sfoga scrivendo versi. Ha del fascino la sua scrittura, ma le poesie brevi che ha composto non mi convincono molto. Meglio quelle a più ampio respiro della raccolta Faithful and virtuous night. in queste il suo Io si dibatte tra ironia e malinconia, dando alla sua poetica un campo di visione più ampio.

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  2. Luise Gluck’s poetry ‘ Parodos ‘ as a part of your blog clearly asserts that how he learnt to exist in reaction in this world . Not only that he was out of the touch with the world because he didn’t want to make himself tired arguing and debating with the world as such . But he welcomed reaction of the people as a part of usual life . His philosophy appeared to be similar to that of the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore , a Noble Laureate , who used to say ‘Ekla Chalo’ means ‘move alone’. Luise Gluck ,
    I think , wanted to move alone with his poetry despite reactions of different kinds and types . A true poet of the yesteryear teaches us many things which the youths of the day have to learn . Credit goes to your blog which has made this great poet alive even to day and brought before us . Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Nice to know that . My comments should not be taken otherwise . I only reacts on what I perceive from your writings as such . I personally get aware of many things from your blogs . Thanks !

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Parents often ask their children… What do you want to be when you grow up? Perhaps the better question would be… Who do you want to be when you grow up? In the journey of life, we often do not recognize the path we are on, until we turn around to look back. This is always a worthwhile endeavour. Thanks for the good research Luisa. Happy Saturday. Allan

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Wow. Luisa, the poem and the article on Louise Glück is awesome, and super excellent. Thank you so much for introducing me to wonderful, outstanding poets. Enjoy a great weekend, dear. 😊😊👏👏👏👏👌👌👌👌

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    1. I thank you very much, Joanna, for your kind comment and the reflection you have done.
      I confess that. since I’m not a native English speaker I don’t know many expressions, such as the one you used: “stiff upper lip”, but I am really curious for everything related to culture, So I did a little research and I discovered an expression that I have added to my vocabulary, at least to the passive one💞💞💞

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  5. Bellissima questa poesia e la traduzione è davvero fantastico a, 👍👍👍. Nonostante l’aver sofferto tantissimo ha saputo raccogliere tanta forza dentro di sé e ha lasciato in eredità delle poesie stupende come questa, 🙂.

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      1. Concordo assolutamente: la sofferenza, malgrado sia una cosa il più delle volte negativa, ha anche un lato positivo: ci sprona a lottare con tutte le nostre forze contro le avversità della vita, senza arrenderci mai, senza mai smettere di lottare per un domani migliore e per un futuro pieno di speranza. Buon pomeriggio anche a te cara Luisa, 🌷🤗😘🌷.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG! I have just found out that I don’t follow you anymore! 😜the same f…king play by WP. I’ve actually wondered why I don’t see any post from you; it was good that you liked my post; this helped me see it!! 😂😎😘💖

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  7. Another wonderful interpretation of a poem that must resonate with so many people. It’s impossible for me to equate with those people whose lives have been made intolerable by a situation which is completely out of their control. On the other hand, for people whose destiny is within their own hands, surely it’s better not to think too deeply. We’ve all been there, but it’s how we deal with it that counts.

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    1. Come ho appena scritto a Giusy, un tempo si diceva che la febbre facesse crescere (in statura). Allo stesso modo la sofferenza fa crescere nel senso che rende più attenti, comprensivi, percettivi
      Buona domenica e buon 25 Aprile a te 🌹

      Like

  8. As a result of winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2020, I followed his poems and found a voice that rises to discover the true value of emotions, and with an apparently light tone, knows how to speak directly to us. Now that I read this poem, it illuminates his poetic vein more. Excellent post Louise. With you the adrenaline rises more when reading you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. L’altro ieri ad una riunione sul Vangelo e la sua attualità ho sentito nominare Gluck , Nobel per la poesia. Possibile collegarla con la memoria?. Io , lo sai , sono un ignorantone, pensavo a Celentano e al tuo blog. Che c’entra? siete 2 simpaticoni …

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