Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday Poem - Why We Tell Stories

For Linda Foster

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

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

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


Lindsay said...

This is beautiful. Thank you.

Guy said...

Hi Cate

What an enchanting poem. I have to say I became convinced as I read that this was indeed why we tell

Thanks Guy

Mystic Meandering said...

"each of us tells the same story, only differently..." So true, it's all the same story, and story connects us, connects our hearts...

Mystic Meandering said...

PS - Just to add a little something from John O'Donohoe that I read this morning, after I posted the above :)

"All the stories are like different pieces that combine to build a mosaic of presence. All the stories go to make up the one story. The wholesome and inclusive seeing, in which all the differences can be seen to belong Divine intimacy..."

Blessings :)

Tabor said...

Marvelous imagery in this poetry. Great pictures cross my mind as I read it.

Michelle Sears said...

All of us women are connected by the stories we tell. It keeps up all close to each other at heart. Thanks for sharing this poem.

silverlight said...

oh my, you always say it so well.

PamB said...

Hear a wonderful reading/telling of this poem at