Holy City of Byzantium

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Field Flowers

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by Louise Glück (b. 1943)

What are you saying?  That you want
eternal life?  Are your thoughts really
as compelling as all that?  Certainly
you don’t look at us, don’t listen to us,
on your skin
stain of sun, dust
of yellow buttercups: I’m talking
to you, you staring through
bars of high grass shaking
your little rattle – O
the soul!  the soul!  Is it enough
only to look inward?  Contempt
for humanity is one thing, but why
disdain the expansive
field, your gaze rising over the clear heads
of the wild buttercups into what?  Your poor
idea of heaven: absence
of change.  Better than earth?  How
would you know, who are neither
here nor there, standing in our midst?

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