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Best Famous Lisel Mueller Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Lisel Mueller poems. This is a select list of the best famous Lisel Mueller poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Lisel Mueller poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Lisel Mueller poems.

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by Lisel Mueller | |

What The Dog Perhaps Hears

 If an inaudible whistle
blown between our lips
can send him home to us, 
then silence is perhaps
the sound of spiders breathing
and roots mining the earth; 
it may be asparagus heaving, 
headfirst, into the light
and the long brown sound
of cracked cups, when it happens.
We would like to ask the dog if there is a continuous whir because the child in the house keeps growing, if the snake really stretches full length without a click and the sun breaks through clouds without a decibel of effort, whether in autumn, when the trees dry up their wells, there isn't a shudder too high for us to hear.
What is it like up there above the shut-off level of our simple ears? For us there was no birth cry, the newborn bird is suddenly here, the egg broken, the nest alive, and we heard nothing when the world changed.


by Lisel Mueller | |

Another Version

 Our trees are aspens, but people
mistake them for birches;
they think of us as characters
in a Russian novel, Kitty and Levin
living contentedly in the country.
Our friends from the city watch the birds and rabbits feeding together on top of the deep, white snow.
(We have Russian winters in Illinois, but no sleighbells, possums instead of wolves, no trusted servants to do our work.
) As in a Russian play, an old man lives in our house, he is my father; he lets go of life in such slow motion, year after year, that the grief is stuck inside me, a poisoned apple that won't go up or down.
But like the three sisters, we rarely speak of what keeps us awake at night; like them, we complain about things that don't really matter and talk of our pleasures and of the future: we tell each other the willows are early this year, hazy with green.


by Lisel Mueller | |

Immortality

 WE must pass like smoke or live within the spirit’s fire;
For we can no more than smoke unto the flame return
If our thought has changed to dream, our will unto desire,
 As smoke we vanish though the fire may burn.
Lights of infinite pity star the grey dusk of our days: Surely here is soul: with it we have eternal breath: In the fire of love we live, or pass by many ways, By unnumbered ways of dream to death.


by Lisel Mueller | |

Scenic Route

 For Lucy, who called them "ghost houses.
" Someone was always leaving and never coming back.
The wooden houses wait like old wives along this road; they are everywhere, abandoned, leaning, turning gray.
Someone always traded the lonely beauty of hemlock and stony lakeshore for survival, packed up his life and drove off to the city.
In the yards the apple trees keep hanging on, but the fruit grows smaller year by year.
When we come this way again the trees will have gone wild, the houses collapsed, not even worth the human act of breaking in.
Fields will have taken over.
What we will recognize is the wind, the same fierce wind, which has no history.


by Lisel Mueller | |

Small Poem About The Hounds And The Hares

 After the kill, there is the feast.
And toward the end, when the dancing subsides and the young have sneaked off somewhere, the hounds, drunk on the blood of the hares, begin to talk of how soft were their pelts, how graceful their leaps, how lovely their scared, gentle eyes.


by Lisel Mueller | |

Blood Oranges

 In 1936, a child
in Hitler's Germany,
what did I know about the war in Spain?
Andalusia was a tango
on a wind-up gramophone,
Franco a hero's face in the paper.
No one told me about a poet for whose sake I might have learned Spanish bleeding to death on a barren hill.
All I knew of Spain were those precious imported treats we splurged on for Christmas.
I remember pulling the sections apart, lining them up, sucking each one slowly, so the red sweetness would last and last -- while I was reading a poem by a long-dead German poet in which the woods stood safe under the moon's milky eye and the white fog in the meadows aspired to become lighter than air.


by Lisel Mueller | |

Immortality

 In Sleeping Beauty's castle
the clock strikes one hundred years
and the girl in the tower returns to the world.
So do the servants in the kitchen, who don't even rub their eyes.
The cook's right hand, lifted an exact century ago, completes its downward arc to the kitchen boy's left ear; the boy's tensed vocal cords finally let go the trapped, enduring whimper, and the fly, arrested mid-plunge above the strawberry pie fulfills its abiding mission and dives into the sweet, red glaze.
As a child I had a book with a picture of that scene.
I was too young to notice how fear persists, and how the anger that causes fear persists, that its trajectory can't be changed or broken, only interrupted.
My attention was on the fly: that this slight body with its transparent wings and life-span of one human day still craved its particular share of sweetness, a century later.


by Lisel Mueller | |

Bedtime Story

 The moon lies on the river
like a drop of oil.
The children come to the banks to be healed of their wounds and bruises.
The fathers who gave them their wounds and bruises come to be healed of their rage.
The mothers grow lovely; their faces soften, the birds in their throats awake.
They all stand hand in hand and the trees around them, forever on the verge of becoming one of them, stop shuddering and speak their first word.
But that is not the beginning.
It is the end of the story, and before we come to the end, the mothers and fathers and children must find their way to the river, separately, with no one to guide them.
That is the long, pitiless part, and it will scare you.


by Lisel Mueller | |

Things

 What happened is, we grew lonely
living among the things,
so we gave the clock a face,
the chair a back,
the table four stout legs
which will never suffer fatigue.
We fitted our shoes with tongues as smooth as our own and hung tongues inside bells so we could listen to their emotional language, and because we loved graceful profiles the pitcher received a lip, the bottle a long, slender neck.
Even what was beyond us was recast in our image; we gave the country a heart, the storm an eye, the cave a mouth so we could pass into safety.


by Lisel Mueller | |

Night Song

 Among rocks, I am the loose one,
among aarows, I am the heart,
among daughters, I am the recluse,
among sons, the one who dies young.
Among answers, I am the question, between lovers, I am the sword, among scars, I am the fresh wound, among confetti, the black flag.
Among shoes, I am the onw with the pebble, among days, the one that never comes, among the bones you find on the beach the one that sings was mine.


by Lisel Mueller | |

A Day Like Any Other

 Such insignificance: a glance
at your record on the doctor's desk
or a letter not meant for you.
How could you have known? It's not true that your life passes before you in rapid motion, but your watch suddenly ticks like an amplified heart, the hands freezing against a white that is a judgment.
Otherwise nothing.
The face in the mirror is still yours.
Two men pass on the sidewalk and do not stare at your window.
Your room is silent, the plants locked inside their mysterious lives as always.
The queen-of-the-night refuses to bloom, does not accept your definition.
It makes no sense, your scanning the street for a traffic snarl, a new crack in the pavement, a flag at half-mast -- signs of some disturbance in the world because your friend, the morning sun, has turned its dark side toward you.


by Lisel Mueller | |

All Night

 All night the knot in the shoelace 
waits for its liberation, 
and the match on the table packs its head 
with anticipation of light.
The faucet sweats out a bead of water, which gathers strength for the free fall, while the lettuce in the refrigerator succumbs to its brown killer.
And in the novel I put down before I fall asleep, the paneled walls of a room are condemned to stand and wait for tomorrow, when I'll get to the page where the prisoner finds the secret door and steps into air and the scent of lilacs.


by Lisel Mueller | |

The Laughter Of Women

 The laughter of women sets fire
to the Halls of Injustice
and the false evidence burns
to a beautiful white lightness

It rattles the Chambers of Congress
and forces the windows wide open
so the fatuous speeches can fly out

The laughter of women wipes the mist
from the spectacles of the old;
it infects them with a happy flu
and they laugh as if they were young again

Prisoners held in underground cells
imagine that they see daylight
when they remember the laughter of women

It runs across water that divides,
and reconciles two unfriendly shores
like flares that signal the news to each other

What a language it is, the laughter of women,
high-flying and subversive.
Long before law and scripture we heard the laughter, we understood freedom.