‘Earthly Terror’, a sonnet by Louise Glück

Earthly Terror

 
I stopped at the gate of a rich city.
I had everything the gods required;
I was ready; the burdens
of preparation had been long.
And the moment was the right moment,
the moment assigned to me.
 
Why were you afraid ?
 
The moment was the right moment;
response must be ready.
On my lips,
the words trembled that were
the right words. Trembled-
 
And I knew that if I failed to answer
quickly enough, I would be turned away. 
  

Durham Cathedral engraving by William Miller after J M W Turner, published in Picturesque Views in England and Wales. From Drawings by J.M.W. Turner, engraved under the superintendence of Mr. Charles Heath with descriptive and historic illustrations by H.E. Lloyd. London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1838. Rawlinson 297

Earthly Terror, by Louise Glück , from The Making of a Sonnet,  eds.  Edward Hirsch and Eavan Boland

Image from Wikimedia Commons

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