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The Little Review
Making No Compromises With the Public Taste
Poem for Thursday 
Thursday, 5th February 2009 12:05 am

Before the Storm
By Louise Gluck

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.


Sears was supposed to come between 8 a.m. and noon to repair the dryer. Sears didn't arrive till 3 p.m. Sears said that it would cost over $300 to replace the motor, which was shot...nearly the cost of a new dryer, without multi-year warranty. I wasn't home for all the excitement of talking to the Sears guy, because I took Adam to his first day of Bar Mitzvah tutoring, which went considerably better than the business with Sears did while Paul did the tooth-gnashing. Particularly since I'd already ground mine down during the previous several hours.

We ended up deciding to replace the dryer, spent the afternoon and evening looking at new models, picked up Daniel from robotics, dropped in on a neighbor whose older brother (with whom I went through school) was visiting. Watched Studio One's production of 1984 since older son is reading it in school, again. Fortunately it was only an hour (and had Eddie Albert, Norma Crane and Lorne Greene) because I'm too fried to think deeply about anything except how broke we are and how in hell we're going to get the deck repaired and how I'm probably never going to go to Europe with my kids again because by the time we can afford the trip, they'll be out of college.

green little review
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