POETRY: Before The Storm, by Louise Glück

Before The Storm Louise Glück

Rain tomorrow, but tonight the sky is clear, the stars shine.
Still, the rain’s coming,
maybe enough to drown the seeds.
There’s a wind from the sea pushing the clouds;
before you see them, you feel the wind.
Better look at the fields now,
see how they look before they’re flooded.

A full moon. Yesterday a sheep escaped into the woods,
and not just any sheep—the ram, the whole future.
If we see him again, we’ll see his bones.

The grass shudders a little; maybe the wind passed through it.
And the new leaves of the olives shudder in the same way.
Mice in the fields. Where the fox hunts,
tomorrow there’ll be blood in the grass.
But the storm—the storm will wash it away.

In one window, there’s a boy sitting.
He’s been sent to bed—too early,
in his opinion. So he sits at the window—

Everything is settled now.
Where you are now is where you’ll sleep, where you’ll wake up in the morning.
The mountain stands like a beacon, to remind the night that the earth exists,
that it mustn’t be forgotten.

Above the sea, the clouds form as the wind rises,
dispersing them, giving them a sense of purpose.

Tomorrow the dawn won’t come.
The sky won’t go back to being the sky of day; it will go on as night,
except the stars will fade and vanish as the storm arrives,
lasting perhaps ten hours all together.
But the world as it was cannot return.

One by one, the lights of the village houses dim
and the mountain shines in the darkness with reflected light.

No sound. Only cats scuffling in doorways.
They smell the wind: time to make more cats.
Later, they prowl the streets, but the smell of the wind stalks them.
It’s the same in the fields, confused by the smell of blood,
though for now only the wind rises; stars turn the field silver.

This far from the sea and still we know these signs.
The night is an open book.
But the world beyond the night remains a mystery.

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