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Lullaby Analysis

Author: poem of Louise Glück Type: poem Views: 0

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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?


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