Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday Poem - Why We Tell Stories

(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

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

6 comments:

judynathan said...

Oh my! Do I ever relate to this one, Cate. Thank you for posting it.

lightsnaps said...

Yes! So beautiful. I have not long discovered some parts of my family history and this poem and image resonate so strongly in me.

MeANderi said...

This photo and poem speak deeply to my Heart. "...the story of our life becomes our life...because each of us tells the same story but tells it differently..." - deep resonance with this line. I find that our stories often bring us together, unite us, give us a sense of commonality, even as the "spiritualities" that we believe in sometimes tells us to drop our stories, and therefore we end up denying our "stories"... This has been an interesting conundrum for me... I assume you have inclinations towards Zen - which would say to step away from the story. I wonder how you reconcile the two?

Guy said...

What a lovely post and poem. I really enjoy the themes of myth and story telling and this work speaking to that beautifully. I do like reading new poets and you choose a great poem.

Thanks for sharing.

Guy

One Woman's Journey said...

Cate, thank you..
Just finished a few days with my oldest daughter and first granddaughter. So many stories were shared.
Stories of items in my cottage that were passed down from my great grandmother, grandmother and mother....

LauraX said...

magical memories and image!