Averno (Avernus) is a small crater lake ten miles west of Naples, Italy which was regarded by the ancient Romans as the entrance to the underworld.
Louise Elisabeth Glück (April 22, 1943 -)
You die when your spirit dies.
Otherwise, you live.
You may not do a good job of it, but you go on —
something you have no choice about.
When I tell this to my children
they pay no attention.
The old people, they think —
this is what they always do:
talk about things no one can see
to cover up all the brain cells they’re losing.
They wink at each other;
listen to the old one, talking about the spirit
because he can’t remember anymore the word for chair.
It is terrible to be alone.
I don’t mean to live alone —
to be alone, where no one hears you.
I remember the word for chair.
I want to say — I’m just not interested anymore.
I wake up thinking
you have to prepare.
Soon the spirit will give up —
all the chairs in the world won’t help you.
Congratulations to Louise Glück on being rewarded the 2020 Nobel Prize for Literature.