Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Drowned Children by Louise Gluck


You see, they have no judgment.
So it is natural that they should drown,
first the ice taking them in
and then, all winter, their wool scarves
floating behind them as they sink
until at last they are quiet.
And the pond lifts them in its manifold dark arms.

But death must come to them differently,
so close to the beginning.
As though they had always been
blind and weightless. Therefore
the rest is dreamed, the lamp,
the good white cloth that covered the table,
their bodies.

And yet they hear the names they used
like lures slipping over the pond:
What are you waiting for
come home, come home, lost
in the waters, blue and permanent.

Overall, the poem brings a sense and tone of dreariness. When just reading the title alone of the poem, one can tell that the poem is going to be about something sad and depressing. In a way, the title defines the poem in how it is going to be analyzed and read. The word "drowned" kind of shows that it's going to be kind of a lonely and gloomy poem. The whole poem is just simply kind of dreary because of the diction the speaker chooses to use. Words such as "sink" and "dark" show that the poem still has a dark feeling amongst it. As the poem talks about drowning children, the process of what they go through and the emotions that they experience, it kind of brings a surreal idea into the reader's mind. The thought of drowning children never really crosses one's mind until one truely experiences it or knows someone who has gone through it. I know that there are instances everyday where children drown in pools or the ocean, but it just seems like a topic that isn't spoken about that often. This poem brings out a real life experience and it kind of seems as if the speaker is trying to show others and let them know what this experience is about. The first line of the poem, "you see, they have no judgment," kind of throws off the poem a bit, however, it kind of shows that the kids are kind of innocent. These children that drown are just so innocent and they don't really know anything, yet they still drown, therefore showing that this poem contains once again a sad atmosphere.


Blogger Matt said...

This poem is pretty sick. Maybe thats why the title caught my eye and lead me to read the whole thing. It really is hard to see how a person could have such an imagination to write this. I'm not sure if the speaker is trying to make a point, or if the author wrote this for the sake of being weird. But it's different, so that makes it good.

3:43 PM  
Blogger Niel said...

I see no good in this poem. It is depressing, evil, and left me with a feeling of sadness. Why someone would write something like this is very unusual. If it was to disturb its reader, then I guess the mission was accomplished.

11:28 PM  
Blogger MValentine said...

I agree with Ester that the poem is dreary, but I think that the meaning the author intended for the line "they have no judgment" is maybe just that kids do not know the dangers that water potentially has for them. As a child you don't think twice about it, you run around the pool not know that you cannot swim or even that you will need to know how to swim. The image of the scarf trailling behind the chil is powerful, and the lake embracing the child as well. It is ironic that the lake would be embracing the child because at the same time it was what killed the child in the first place. Also I think that it is a good observation to note that children would feel death inn a different way. Generally we fear it until we are too old to go on living. Children would not have those feelings because they do not know what death is, or they at least don't comprehend the reality and finality of it. The last stanza is an image of losing the child and the permanent signals the death.

8:52 PM  

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