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Father at Night

April 2, 2012

by Barbara G.S. Hagerty

after Louise Glück

How can I tell you anything
that can be put into words?

It’s not that you can’t hear.
A stone can hear the rain,

the sea’s murmur still fills the tympanum

the way cupped leaves on this bromeliad
capture their thimble of rain.

What is the work of daughters to come to,

bringing a loaf of bread to the bedside,

a bunch of wild Queen Anne cut from the ditch?

Night comes, and the moon is silent,
stamping flower and weed, indifferently.


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The current holder of the South Carolina Arts Commission poetry fellowship, Barbara G.S. Hagerty (website) is also the author of The Guest House (Finishing Line, 2009). Her work has appeared in such journals as The Greensboro Review, The Sun, Kakalak, and others.

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  1. April 3, 2012 at 7:12 am

    this is a beautiful poem

  2. Anonymous
    April 8, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Love this poem, how you capture the relationship. A beautiful tribute to Louise Gluck.

    Thank you for these lines:

    It’s not that you can’t hear.
    A stone can hear the rain,

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