Why We Tell Stories Poem by Lisel Mueller

Why We Tell Stories

Rating: 3.7


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

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Colleen Courtney 17 May 2014

A deep, in-depth write which makes the reader wonder.

3 0 Reply
Lauren Rosina 18 March 2016

I love this poem. So true and beautifull.

3 0 Reply
Ramesh T A 21 February 2020

Due to adverse weather conditions and holidays constrain many to stay at home to talk about life stories to fuel the imagination and dreams of children and all and many versions of same theme go repeatedly by all according to their wish and style paving the way for story telling a nonstop matter in the world indeed! Congrats to Poet Lisel Mueller for having selected as Modern Poem creator today!

2 0 Reply
Dominic Windram 21 February 2020

Humanity's oral tradition is wonderfully described!

1 0 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 21 February 2020

Survival of the fitters! ! Mankind on earth, Stories of life. Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

1 0 Reply
Mahtab Bangalee 22 February 2020

beautiful poem// enjoyable

0 0 Reply
Jayatissa K Liyanage 21 February 2020

A poem truly enchanting and at the same time enlightening as well. Thanks for sharing and congrats on your positioning. X

0 0 Reply
Dr Antony Theodore 21 February 2020

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 Expectations, desires, dreams. very fine poem. tony

0 0 Reply
Ruta Mohapatra 21 February 2020

How enchanting! It is a story itself, the story of mankind! A great poem of the day!

1 0 Reply
Anil Kumar Panda 21 February 2020

A piece from the real world of story telling by grandmas and grandpas. Such an awesome write. Enjoyed thoroughly. Congrats.

1 0 Reply
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