Gretel in Darkness

Steamy sky, quiet day, the summer of my first good garden in many years, in which I explore the art of growing what can be eaten, and find first hand what creatures near by me would like to come and eat from out of my concentrated efforts. Yesterday it was blue jays pulling tiny pumpkin sprouts from the loose wet soil. Only the other day a family of quail worked through planted nasturtium seeds. Gardening is a test, an experience, to see how long we might endure putting up with all of the difficulties of creation. For me, it is an excuse to be out and away from computers and books and headphones to see what the broader life has to feed me…

I read this poem today by renowned poet Louise Gluck, titled “Gretel in Darkness”, and thought it best to save it in this journal:

This is the world we wanted.
All who would have seen us dead
are dead. I hear the witch’s cry
break in the moonlight through a sheet
of sugar: God rewards.
Her tongue shrivels into gas . . .

Now, far from women’s arms
and memory of women, in our father’s hut
we sleep, are never hungry.
Why do I not forget?
My father bars the door, bars harm
from this house, and it is years.

No one remembers. Even you, my brother,
summer afternoons you look at me as though
you meant to leave,
as though it never happened.
But I killed for you. I see armed firs,
the spires of that gleaming kiln–

Nights I turn to you to hold me
but you are not there.
Am I alone? Spies
hiss in the stillness, Hansel,
we are there still and it is real, real,
that black forest and the fire in earnest.

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