Wednesday, April 1, 2009

National Poetry Month: Lisel Mueller

In honor of National Poetry Month, throughout the month of April (in between frenzied moving activities), I will be posting some work from my all-time favorite poets.

First up is Lisel Muller. I came across her collection of new and selected poems "Alive Together" while aimlessly searching for a poet to review for a class in college. Her narrative style reminded me of my own writing and I instantly connected to her work. I have posted one of her poems before; the one below is another favorite of mine because it reaffirms my belief that the world should be a more peaceful place when we consider how lucky we all are to be here, alive together, sharing this world at the same time.

Alive Together

By Lisel Mueller

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 pope
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, lost in a drunken bet.
I might have been stretched out 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 wrongheaded 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.

1 comment:

  1. Whew...Good Poem Am and it's all true. You feel it don't you?