Faithful and Virtuous Night

Title: Faithful and Virtuous Night

Writer: Louise Gluck

Publishing House: Carcanet Press Ltd.

Date of Publication: September 6th 2014

Rating: 5 stars

‘’The streetlights were coming on, 

lining the sides of the river. 

The offices were going dark. 

At the river’s edge,

fog encircled the lights,

one could not, after a while, see the lights

but a strange radiance suffused the fog,

its source a mystery.’’


When you find yourselves in the mystical company of Louise Gluck’s poems, you will be asked to take a walk. A walk that reflects our long journey of Life. The Long Night.

‘’And snow fell upon us, and wind blew,

which in time abated – where the snow had been, many flowers appeared,

and where the stars had shone, the sun rose over the tree line

so that we had shadows again.’’


The nights are thoughts. And the thoughts are hearts.

‘’Shadows moving. The ropes 

making the sound they make. What you hear now

will be the sound of the nightingale, chordata,

the male bird courting the female –

The ropes shift. The hammock

sways in the wind, tied

firmly between two pine trees.

Smell the air. That is the smell of the white pine.

It is my mother’s voice you hear

or is it only the sound the trees make

when the air passes through them.

because what sound would it make, 

passing through nothing?’’

              The Past

The stars are the token of a childhood loaded with obstacles. They are the memories of a family that come alive in the silent night.

‘’Outside, night was falling. Was this

that last night, star-covered, moonlight – spattered

like some chemical preserving

everything immersed in it?

My aunt had lit the candle.’’

    Faithful and Virtuous Night

Nights are made of mist and silence as depicted in Cornwall, a poem whose imagery is outstanding. It is a sword in the stone, piercing a heart. Cornwall, London, Montana. The Horse and the Rider, the Cursed Artist. In the night, myths and Life meet.

‘’The street was white again,

all the bushes covered with heavy snow

and the trees glittering, encased with ice.

I lay in the dark, waiting for the night to end.

It seemed the biggest night I had ever known,

bigger than the night I was born.

I write about you all the time, I said aloud.

Every time I say ‘I’, it refers to you.’’

                     Visitors from Abroad

Whether in nightly walks, when the echoing silence is there to keep us company, or in the meeting of two strangers in a park, Gluck opens a door to our soul…

‘’I think here I will leave you. It has come to seem

there is no perfect ending.

Indeed, there are infinite endings.

Or, perhaps, once we begin,

there are only endings.’’

       Faithful and Virtuous Night