Vineyard Watch


In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.

–Louise Gluck

“I am responsible for these vines.” That line has been echoing in me today. A quiet contemplation of which vineyard, where, and what is needed. And an answer to that question that changes every day.

6 Replies to “Vineyard Watch”

  1. What a wonderful prayer for the twilight time of the day. But, so sad also because “I am responsible for these vines” is such a fatalist ending to the prayer; are we responsible because we have lost Eden and have fallen from grace? G

  2. G, I didn’t read it that way although the poem lends itself to so many different readings. For me the operative line comes previously–“you may not know how much terror we bear”–that says we have not lost Eden. Not yet anyway. The responsibility for its care is still on us. Thank you for your response. As always, I am intrigued by your point of view.

  3. excuse me i know thi isnt about the post but can you help me telling me the name of the lighted floor in tjhe guggenheim museum of fifth avenue, i was there and i forgot the name of the installation and the artist i dont remember if it was part of the altson shotz exhibition, can u help me out?

  4. Diana Johnson says:

    It is not if we should plant, we are all called to be sower of seeds. There is no partiality with God. We must decide what seed we will plant. It is a call to paths. God created man and gave him dominion over the earth.
    –”you may not know how much terror we bear” I think is the doubt we sometimes feel that God has left us to our own demise.

  5. “Like wings tearing the soil” and “how much terror we bear” were my favorite parts. Beautiful poem.

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