an American poet.
She was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1924 and immigrated to America at the age of 15. Her father, Fritz Neumann, was a professor at Evansville College. Her mother died in 1953. "Though my family landed in the Midwest, we lived in urban or suburban environments," she once wrote. She and her husband, Paul Mueller (d. 2001) built a home in Lake Forest, Illinois in the 1960s, where they raised two daughters and lived for many years. Mueller currently resides in a retirement community in Chicago. Her poems are extremely accessible, yet intricate and layered. While at times whimsical and possessing a sly humor, there is an underlying sadness in much of her ... more »
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Lisel Mueller Poems
Monet Refuses The Operation
Doctor, you say there are no haloes around the streetlights in Paris and what I see is an aberration caused by old age, an affliction.
When the moon was full they came to the water. some with pitchforks, some with rakes, some with sieves and ladles, and one with a silver cup.
Speaking of marvels, I am alive together with you, when I might have been alive with anyone under the sun, when I might have been Abelard's woman
In Sleeping Beauty's castle the clock strikes one hundred years and the girl in the tower returns to the world. So do the servants in the kitchen,
What The Dog Perhaps Hears
If an inaudible whistle blown between our lips can send him home to us, then silence is perhaps
The Laughter Of Women
The laughter of women sets fire to the Halls of Injustice and the false evidence burns to a beautiful white lightness
Reading The Brothers Grimm To Jenny
Jenny, your mind commands kingdoms of black and white: you shoulder the crow on your left, the snowbird on your right;
1992 1) I was born in a Free City, near the North Sea.
A Day Like Any Other
Such insignificance: a glance at your record on the doctor's desk or a letter not meant for you. How could you have known? It's not true
What happened is, we grew lonely living among the things, so we gave the clock a face, the chair a back,
Why We Tell Stories
For Linda Foster I
For Lucy, who called them "ghost houses." Someone was always leaving
In 1936, a child in Hitler's Germany, what did I know about the war in Spain? Andalusia was a tango
Five For Country Music
I. Insomnia The bulb at the front door burns and burns. If it were a white rose it would tire of blooming
Monet Refuses The Operation
Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: ...