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Mar 21, 2003 08:57 AM 8522 Views
(Updated Mar 21, 2003 09:04 AM)



I love to read Poetry and I like to tell you about one of my favourite Book of Poems.

It is called ALIVE TOGETHER: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS. It was written by Lisel Muller. It was published by the Louisiana State University Press in 1996. I bought the paperback copy that has 232 pages. She won a Pulitzer Prize for this Book the same year it was published.

This Book has some of her best Poems that she wrote during a 35 year period. Some of the Poems are about Culture, Family, History, Language and Music.


I am just going to give you a sample of four Poems. I hope these will give you a taste of her poems and make you crave to read more and buy this wonderful Book!

  1. I AM ALIVE:

This poem is about the wonders of being alive. The good and the bad times we face as we go through life.

''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 humour and mercy and journeys and voices and faces,

And colours and summers and mornings and knowledge and tears and chance,

We are alive together.''

  1. Things:

This poem is hauntingly beautiful. To me it is about getting old. I speaks of being the last one alive and what happens when you are left alone. Although we are still alive we are just passing time.

''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.

Because we loved graceful profiles the pitcher received a lip, the bottle a long, slender neck.

Even what was beyond 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.''

3.The Blind Leading The Blind:

What a wonderful poem about love. I speaks to me of all of the stages we go through when we fall in love and how we struggle to keep our love alive after the first thrill has passed.

''Take my hand. There are two of us in this cave.

The sound you hear is water; you will hear it forever.

The ground you walk on is rock. I have been here before.

People come here to be born, to discover, to kiss,

to dream, and to dig and to kill. Watch for the mud.

Summer blows in with scent of horses and roses and Fall with the sound of sound breaking,

Winter shoves an empty sleeve down the dark of your throat.

You will learn toads from diamonds,the fist from the palm,love from the sweat of love, falling from flying.

There are a thousand turnoffs.

I have been here before.

Once I fell off a precipice. Once I found gold.

Once I stumbled on murder, the thin parts of a girl.

Walk on, keep walking, there are axes above us.

Watch for occasional bits and bubbles of light, birthdays for you, recognitions: yourself, another.

Watch for the mud. Listen for bells, for beggars.

Something with wings went crazy against my chest once.

There are two of us here.

Touch me.''

  1. When I Am Asked:

To me this poem is very telling. It does tell about when she started writing. I believe this poem is about grief and to honour her Mother.

''When I am asked how I began writing poems,

I talk about the indifference of nature.

It was soon after my mother died,

A brilliant June day and everything blooming.

I sat on a gray stone bench in a lovingly planted garden,

But the day lilies were as deaf as the cars of drunken sleepers and the roses curved inward.

Nothing was black or broken and not a leaf fell and the sun blared endless commercials for summer holidays.

I sat on a gray stone bench ringed with the ingenue faces of pink and white Impatiens,

And placed my grief in the mouth of language, the only thing that would grieve with me.

The four Poems I told you about went from birth, life, love and death. These are some of the stages of life. If you buy the Book and read the Poems these four may have a different meaning for you. We all see things in a different way and that’s what makes life so wonderful.


''Lisel Mueller was born in Hamburg Germany. The left Germany after Hitler took over Germany. Her Family moved to Evansville, Indiana in the USA.

She wrote a few Books but her 7 Books of Poetry were what made her famous.

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 she won the Ruth Lilly Prize.''


I love Lisel Mueller's poems. They are enchanting and very hard to forget.

I paid $15.00 CAD. The ISBN# 0807121282

Comments are always welcome and I hope you leave me one.


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Alive Together : New And Selected Poems - Lisel Mueller