What do 'pelted clover' and 'gorged pastures' mean in the following poem by Louise Glück? Clover leaves that are being thrown? A pasture land with a pathway in the middle?

Labor Day

Requiring something lovely on his arm
Took me to Stamford, Connecticut, a quasi-farm,
His family's; later picking up the mammoth
Girlfriend of Charlie, meanwhile trying to pawn me off
On some third guy also up for the weekend.
But Saturday we still were paired; spent
It sprawled across that sprawling acreage
Until the grass grew limp
with damp. Like me. Johnston-baby, I can still see
The pelted clover, burrs' prickle fur and gorged
Pastures spewing infinite tiny bells. You pimp.


A gorge is a deep, narrow valley with very steep sides, usually where a river passes through mountains or an area of hard rock


: a narrow passage through land
especially : a narrow steep-walled canyon or part of a canyon

(Merriam Webster)


noun (1)
1. a usually undressed skin with its hair, wool, or fur


verb (2)
transitive verb
// pelted snowballs at them

(Merriam Webster)

  • I would suggest looking up the verb form of gorge. Jun 17 at 17:23
  • 1
    Both mean ruined. Overgrazed land. She's not happy. Even the farm is in disgrace. Jun 17 at 17:38
  • 3
    I take pelted to mean that the clover is dense and reminds the poet of an animal's pelt. I take "gorged pastures spewing infinite tiny bells" to mean that the pastures are very full of bell-like flowers -- like engorged breasts when the newborn is a bit late for a feeding. I take "You pimp" to mean the same as "You rock, you did great in bringing me here." But who knows?
    – aparente001
    Jun 17 at 19:19
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    I'd agree "pelted" means "having a pelt" i.e. "furry" - because a clover flower has got lots of little petals like strands of fur, and "gorged" means stuffed (although it's also a heraldic term meaning "with something around its neck", or could refer to something shaped like a steep valley, i.e. probably not a meadow). But this is poetry; words can mean more than one thing, or not anything.
    – Stuart F
    Jun 17 at 19:22
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    I like this poem. It's about having sex in a pasture. The pelting is the striking of body parts against the clover. The grass is damp as the body is damp with the sexual effort. Burrs are among the vegetation, and if you look closely at a burr it has tiny protrusions, but the burr's body is full, thick, gorged (as the penis). I think the sex is with the third guy up for the weekend. The guy who brought her pimped her off on this guy. How can an interpretation of what words mean in context not be an integral part of English Language and Usage is beyond me.
    – Zan700
    Jun 18 at 3:23


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