Linda Gregg, who knew how to live

Linda Gregg, the poet, died a few days ago. I met her once at an arts colony where I was working. Instead of having her sit inside and read pages, I took her on a walk. We went up the hill and into the woods where we got lost. We sat in a ravine, with broken black trees and white water flowing, and we each had a cigarette. Or maybe we shared one. People still sneaked cigarettes back then. She told me how she loved a man — not Jack Gilbert anymore. Jack Gilbert was in her youth, when they lived, famously, on a Greek island. This other man was also a poet, but married to another. I too had had a great love, who had been married to another. We compared notes. She told me that no one had ever loved her the way this man had loved her, that she had been astonished at how he much he loved her, and the words he had said to her. Words she couldn’t get over. Or chose not to get over, there in the ravine in Vermont with her long famous ginger-red hair and her beauty and her seriousness. Linda was a woman, I thought, who knew how to live. She had given herself to words and to beauty. She was a also a horse rider, I believe, in California where she grew up. She is the kind of person you picture as always on that horse. She led a life few dare to these days. A life of devotion. R.I.P Linda Gregg (September 9, 1942 – March 19, 2019

About louisewleonard

Author of 52 Men, 2015. Excerpts in The Rumpus, Tin House, Fiction Advocate and Gargoyle.
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