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Here Are My Black Clothes

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 image from   blackbirdsconsignment

I've been reading a lot of poetry lately after a friend reminded me of a few poems I had forgotten about.  I find that I have to be in just the right mood to feel uplifted by some of my favorite poets rather than devastated by them.  It is often such a piercing, condensed truth that emerges from poetry and that has the effect of a hard-to-swallow pill or a dentist appointment we keep putting off scheduling for fear of what our mysterious tooth pain will actually cost us. It is probably not a mistake that both my metaphors are corporeal: poetry begs to be embodied, to be spoken, to be felt viscerally.  And Louise Glück, one of my favorite poets plays perpetually with this tension between the body and the soul, earth and what comes after/before.   I thought I'd start sharing some of my favorite poems on our blog, beginning with one by Glück that is particularly applicable to clothes--as a metaphor, of course!  And it is perfect for this time of year in which we all feel like cleaning out the old to make room for new, more functional "clothing," whether it be actual closet edits, relationship overhauls, or personal inventories. To the new life that is no longer served by old trappings.  And to the more brightly-hued textiles of Spring.






I think now it is better to love no one

than to love you.  Here are my black clothes,

the tired nightgowns and robes fraying

in many places. Why should they hang useless

as though I were going naked? You liked me well enough

in black; I make you a gift of these objects.

You will want to touch them with your mouth, run

your fingers through the thin

tender underthings and I

will not need them in my new life.


--Louise Glück from The House on Marshland, 1975