Friday, March 11, 2011

A Treasure Mountain

Sweet Smell of Spring
by Catherine Wingfield-Yeatts

Today we have... *trumpet fanfare* Lisel Mueller!

So much to love about her poetry...

Why We Tell Stories
by Lisel Mueller
For Linda Foster

I.

Because we used to have leaves
and on damp days
our muscles feel a tug,
painful now, from when roots
pulled us into the ground

and because our children believe
they can fly, an instinct retained
from when the bones in our arms
were shaped like zithers and broke
neatly under their feathers

and because before we had lungs
we knew how far it was to the bottom
as we floated open-eyed
like painted scarves through the scenery
of dreams, and because we awakened

and learned to speak

II.

We sat by the fire in our caves,
and because we were poor, we made up a tale
about a treasure mountain
that would open only for us

and because we were always defeated,
we invented impossible riddles
only we could solve,
monsters only we could kill,
women who could love no one else
and because we had survived
sisters and brothers, daughters and sons,
we discovered bones that rose
from the dark earth and sang
as white birds in the trees

read the rest here.

~~~~

Love Like Salt
by Lisel Mueller

It lies in our hands in crystals
too intricate to decipher

It goes into the skillet
without being given a second thought

It spills on the floor so fine
we step all over it

We carry a pinch behind each eyeball

It breaks out on our foreheads

We store it inside our bodies
in secret wineskins

At supper, we pass it around the table
talking of holidays and the sea.

~~~~

Moon Fishing
by Lisel Mueller

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."

read the rest here.

More:

* Her book Alive Together won the Pulitzer for poetry
* The reason Lisel started writing poems
* Things
* The Concert
* Monet Refuses the Operation
* A beautiful conversation between Elizabeth Farnsworth and Lisel Mueller

Liz has the Poetry Friday round-up today!

6 comments:

Irene Latham said...

Alive Together is a fantastic collection. I love your "More" links, esp. the poem "When I Am Asked." Lots to ponder there: the indifference of nature, the communion we find in words. Thanks for sharing!

Robyn Hood Black said...

Yes, thank you for sharing such a treasure store here today. I particularly love "Why We Tell Stories."

Blythe Woolston said...

This is archaeology of the imagination. And this...

"instinct retained
from when the bones in our arms
were shaped like zithers and broke
neatly under their feathers."

is perfection of image.

Thank you, sincerely, for showing me this.

Judy@Learningtoletgo said...

My favourite is Moon Fishing, but I love all these. I have not read this author before. Thank you for the introduction!

Tara said...

Ooh, a fabulous new poet to explore further. Thank you!

Mary Lee said...

Me, too: new poet, thanks for the introduction, off to buy her collection and read more!