Circe’s Power


by Louise Glück

(courtesy of


I never turned anyone into a pig.
Some people are pigs; I make them
Look like pigs.
I'm sick of your world
That lets the outside disguise the inside. Your men weren't bad men;
Undisciplined life
Did that to them. As pigs,
Under the care of
Me and my ladies, they
Sweetened right up.
Then I reversed the spell, showing you my goodness
As well as my power. I saw
We could be happy here,
As men and women are
When their needs are simple. In the same breath,
I foresaw your departure,
Your men with my help braving
The crying and pounding sea. You think
A few tears upset me? My friend,
Every sorceress is
A pragmatist at heart; nobody sees essence who can't
Face limitation. If I wanted only to hold you
I could hold you prisoner.