Wednesday 4 September 2013

Anne Carson's 'The Glass Essay' (1995)

Some favourite passages from Anne Carson's long poem, 'The Glass Essay,' from Glass, Irony and God (New Directions, 1995):

Spring opens like a blade there. 


You remember too much,
my mother said to me recently.

Why hold onto all that? And I said,
Where can I put it down?


Each morning a vision came to me.
Gradually I understood that these were naked glimpses of my soul.

I called them Nudes.


                               By now I was so cold
it felt like burning.


But by now the day is wide open and a strange young April light
is filling the moor with gold milk.
I have reached the middle

where the ground goes down into a depression and fills with swampy water.
It is frozen.
A solid black pane of moor life caught in its own night attitudes.


It is a two-way traffic,

the language of the unsaid.


The April light is clear as an alarm.

As we pass them it gives a sudden sense of every object
existing in space on its own shadow.
I wish I could carry this clarity with me

into the hospital where distinctions tend to flatten and coalesce.


His face cracks open it could be a grin or rage

and looking past me he issues a stream of vehemence at the air.


Sunlight flocks through the room.


He used to be a big man, over six feet tall and strong,

but since he came to hospital his body has shrunk to the merest bone house--
except the hands. The hands keep growing.


I stared at the back of her head waiting for what she would say.
Her answer would clear this up.

But she just laughed a strange laugh with ropes all over it.


Those nights lying alone
are not discontinuous with this cold hectic dawn.
This is who I am.

1 comment:

  1. How beautiful! So many words to savour. 'the merest bone house' Astonishing! Thanks for this read. Best, cat