The children come to the banks to be healed

I was just on the phone with my dear friend Killeen and randomly asked her for a poet recommendation because I needed inspiration for tonight’s post. She suggested the German poet Lisel Mueller (1924-), whose work I had never read until 30 minutes ago. And now I find myself liking so many of her poems that I can’t choose just one. So here are two shortish pieces by her. (Thanks Killeen!)

“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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“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.

Advertisements

One thought on “The children come to the banks to be healed

  1. i saw this in my newsfeed and felt obliged to comment since i randomly stumbled on some of lisel mueller’s poems for the first time this weekend. i’d recommend “monet refuses the operation” if you haven’t seen it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s