Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Poem - Why We Tell Stories

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

2
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

3
Because the story of our life
becomes our life

Because each of us tells
the same story
but tells it differently

and none of us tells it
the same way twice

Because grandmothers looking like spiders
want to enchant the children
and grandfathers need to convince us
what happened happened because of them

and though we listen only
haphazardly, with one ear,
we will begin our story
with the word and ...

Lisel Mueller

8 comments:

Tabor said...

This is wonderful. Imagery is so beautiful and humor so true. Wish I could write this well.

Anonymous said...

Cate - your images both visual and written are amazing. Thank you for your gifts. Jane

Lee said...

What a meaningful and beautiful poem! Thank you.

Iktomi said...

this is a very profound piece of work. i am in awe. :)

Aisling said...

Truly amazing. I'm off to read it aloud to my 19 year old daughter, who will appreciate it. She has already begun her story with the word "and..."

Jan said...

My words fail because yours are so rich and true. Thank you for this. It is memorable and a keepsake.

I am particularly struck by how you touch upon the sameness of our stories. And yet they are different. I believe this with all my heart. We are One.

Quiet said...

'Because the story of our life
becomes our life'

We can retell that story as well, see our lives differently. I went back to some photos I'd taken years before and saw the beauty there. That beauty surprised me, as did the fact that I had seen and captured it at that dark time.

Squirrel said...

I love the way you married your photo with the poem showing how it is all connected. Beautiful images.

Like Jan, I think I might just go back and look at some of my photos with fresh eyes.