the great thing is not having a mind


The Red Poppy

by Louise Glück

The great thing
is not having
a mind. Feelings:
oh, I have those; they
govern me. I have
a lord in heaven
called the sun, and open
for him, showing him
the fire of my own heart, fire
like his presence.
What could such glory be
if not a heart? Oh my brothers and sisters,
were you like me once, long ago,
before you were human? Did you
permit yourselves
to open once, who would never
open again? Because in truth
I am speaking now
the way you do. I speak
because I am shattered.


I read this poem yesterday morning. It struck me enough to mark it to read again this morning. It is from Glück’s collection The Wild Iris. I finished reading this book this morning in a collection of Glück’s poetry.

Michael Robbins the poet/critic says that it is the poppy speaking in this poem. And that many of the poems in this collection are from the point of view of the flowers in Glück’s garden. This makes sense. But for me, there is a voice of the poet and the voice of the poem itself. Someone speaking the way they do (whether in words or swaying like a red poppy) because they are “shattered.”

I see red poppy petals scattered but I also see shattered people sitting and lost maybe on a street in a city.

And the cheerful inanity of the first line attracts me. It captures my mixed feelings about the contemporary way to think or not think. I would be grateful if I could abandon the mental stuff sometimes. It would be a “great thing.” At the same time the next line captures the assumption that I carry into each moment that my feelings are a wave that are always present and presumably distorting things the way conceptualizing stuff with a mind can also distort things.

This poem is what we were like before we were human, before we bought into the stuff that takes away our ability  to “open.”

That’s how I see it.


College Degree Required by Increasing Number of Companies –

When I was in grad school, the chair of the music department said it was a buyer’s market for PHDs. This article talks about “degree inflation” and uses the same phrase for employer’s in general about all college degrees.


Supreme Court to Hear Campaign Finance Case –

Money is speech and corporations have individual rights. This stuff never fails to amaze me.


A black and white drawing of a doctor on the phone Stock Photo - Royalty-Freenull, Code: 608-01091292

A Digital Shift on Health Data Swells Profits in an Industry –

This is a good behind the scenes look at how corporations shape legislation and subsequent law to their advantage and to the disadvantage to the society at large.


The Memoto camera-narcissism or media for the masses? | The Media Freedom Foundation

Document your life with a little cam that takes a picture every few seconds.


2 thoughts on “the great thing is not having a mind

  1. Hey, Dad! You have a typo in the title of your post. Thought you might want to correct it since it’s quoting a poem. Or maybe it’s a metaphor? Love you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.