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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 21: 1 Jan. 2024
Poem: 180 words
Poet’s Note: 65 words
By Tricia Knoll


The White Hydrangea with a Voice Disability
Prepares for the Devotions of Lauds *

A cento from the poetry of Louise Glück, in memoriam*
I watch the blossoms—old, old yellowish white. 
Bedtime. I became an old woman. 
Fireflies flickering here and there 
like the breeze of a September twilight. 
I know myself; I’ve learned to hear 
like a psychiatrist. I am shattered. 
The garden is not the real world. 

Now everywhere I am talked to by silence. 
I have only my body for a voice. 
The void occurred to me. I can erase you. 
I don’t need your praise. In my own mind, 
I’m invisible. Don’t listen to me. 
I was tired telling stories. 

When I close my eyes birdsong 
tangled with a thousand voices. 
What is a poet without dreams? 
The soul suddenly flowers white. 
It was another hope entirely. 

When I woke up I started reading all my diaries. 
The place you begin doesn’t determine 
the place you end. I made a harp of disaster 
to love silence and darkness. 
Tell them there is no music like this. 



*Poet’s Note:

“The White Hydrangea with a Voice Disability Prepares for the Devotions of Lauds” is a cento which uses words from many poems by Louise Glück [1943–2023] from the collection Louise Glück, Poems 1962-2012 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 2012). Poem sources include “Lute Song,” “Evening Prayers,” “Quiet Evening,” “The Garment,” “The Reproach,” “The Dream,” “Nest,” “The Open Grave,” “Vespers,” “Vespers: Parousia,” “Lullaby,” “End of Summer,” “Retreating Light,” “Midsummer,” “Daisies,” “Orfeo,” and “Quiet Evening.”

Tricia Knoll
Issue 21 (1 January 2024)

is a Vermont poet whose work appears widely in journals, anthologies, and seven collections—with number eight, The Unknown Daughter (part autobiography, part fiction and fantasy, part feminist history), coming out on March 1, 2024. How I Learned to Be White received the 2018 Indid Book Award for Motivational Poetry. One Bent Twig (Future Cycle Press, 2023) contains eco-poetry highlighting trees Knoll has planted or loved, or now worries about due to climate chaos. She is a Contributing Editor to Verse Virtual.

Poet’s website: https://triciaknoll.com/

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