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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 |

Moon Fishing

 When the moon was full they came to the water.
some with pitchforks, some with rakes, some with sieves and ladles, and one with a silver cup.
And they fished til a traveler passed them and said, "Fools, to catch the moon you must let your women spread their hair on the water -- even the wily moon will leap to that bobbing net of shimmering threads, gasp and flop till its silver scales lie black and still at your feet.
" And they fished with the hair of their women till a traveler passed them and said, "Fools, do you think the moon is caught lightly, with glitter and silk threads? You must cut out your hearts and bait your hooks with those dark animals; what matter you lose your hearts to reel in your dream?" And they fished with their tight, hot hearts till a traveler passed them and said, "Fools, what good is the moon to a heartless man? Put back your hearts and get on your knees and drink as you never have, until your throats are coated with silver and your voices ring like bells.
" And they fished with their lips and tongues until the water was gone and the moon had slipped away in the soft, bottomless mud.


by Lisel Mueller |

Monet Refuses The Operation

 Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels, to soften and blur and finally banish the edges you regret I don't see, to learn that the line I called the horizon does not exist and sky and water, so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see Rouen cathedral is built of parallel shafts of sun, and now you want to restore my youthful errors: fixed notions of top and bottom, the illusion of three-dimensional space, wisteria separate from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you the Houses of Parliament dissolves night after night to become the fluid dream of the Thames? I will not return to a universe of objects that don't know each other, as if islands were not the lost children of one great continent.
The world is flux, and light becomes what it touches, becomes water, lilies on water, above and below water, becomes lilac and mauve and yellow and white and cerulean lamps, small fists passing sunlight so quickly to one another that it would take long, streaming hair inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light! Our weighted shapes, these verticals, burn to mix with air and change our bones, skin, clothes to gases.
Doctor, if only you could see how heaven pulls earth into its arms and how infinitely the heart expands to claim this world, blue vapor without end.


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 |

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 |

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 |

Alive Together

 Speaking of marvels, I am alive
together with you, when I might have been
alive with anyone under the sun,
when I might have been Abelard's woman
or the whore of a Renaissance pop
or a peasant wife with not enough food
and not enough love, with my children
dead of the plague.
I might have slept in an alcove next to the man with the golden nose, who poked it into the business of stars, or sewn a starry flag for a general with wooden teeth.
I might have been the exemplary Pocahontas or a woman without a name weeping in Master's bed for my husband, exchanged for a mule, my daughter, lost in a drunken bet.
I might have been stretched on a totem pole to appease a vindictive god or left, a useless girl-child, to die on a cliff.
I like to think I might have been Mary Shelley in love with a wrong-headed angel, or Mary's friend.
I might have been you.
This poem is endless, the odds against us are endless, our chances of being alive together statistically nonexistent; still we have made it, alive in a time when rationalists in square hats and hatless Jehovah's Witnesses agree it is almost over, alive with our lively children who--but for endless ifs-- might have missed out on being alive together with marvels and follies and longings and lies and wishes and error and humor and mercy and journeys and voices and faces and colors and summers and mornings and knowledge and tears and chance.


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 |

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 |

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 |

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.