Lisel Mueller

(February 8, 1924)

Immortality

Poem by Lisel Mueller

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,
who don't even rub their eyes.
The cook's right hand, lifted
an exact century ago,
completes its downward arc
to the kitchen boy's left ear;
the boy's tensed vocal cords
finally let go
the trapped, enduring whimper,
and the fly, arrested mid-plunge
above the strawberry pie
fulfills its abiding mission
and dives into the sweet, red glaze.

As a child I had a book
with a picture of that scene.
I was too young to notice
how fear persists, and how
the anger that causes fear persists,
that its trajectory can't be changed
or broken, only interrupted.
My attention was on the fly:
that this slight body
with its transparent wings
and life-span of one human day
still craved its particular share
of sweetness, a century later.


Comments about Immortality by Lisel Mueller

  • Dr Tony BrahminDr Tony Brahmin (2/21/2020 10:29:00 AM)

    this slight body
    with its transparent wings
    and life-span of one human day
    still craved its particular share
    of sweetness, a century later. immortality and the sharing sweetness of a dream like attitude., tony(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Tom Allport (12/17/2016 11:53:00 AM)

    every thing has its purpose and time will not stop it(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (12/17/2016 7:19:00 AM)

    Brilliant poem. A descriptive assessment of the situation.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Glen KappyGlen Kappy (12/17/2016 7:16:00 AM)

    wow, people! notice how this poem which begins with reference to a fairy tale, to something of lesser consequence, ends with a profound note and a surprise. -glen kappy(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Bernard F. AsuncionBernard F. Asuncion (12/17/2016 6:14:00 AM)

    Thanks for sharing++++++++++++++++(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Siddartha MontikSiddartha Montik (12/17/2016 2:52:00 AM)

    Made me look at that God again and Again! thank you for sharing! ! ! 10+++! ! !(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (12/17/2016 2:18:00 AM)

    One human day! Thanks for shsring this poem with us.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Colleen Courtney (5/17/2014 5:34:00 PM)

    Starts like a fairytale and ends on a disturbing but honest epiphany....another great poem by the poet.(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • William Goldman (5/8/2014 6:29:00 PM)

    In the best of these poems, something dangerous, disturbing, hovers beneath the words - this is not surprising when you reflect on her life & background. This quality helps to give the poems just enough complexity and potential contradiction to make them beautiful.(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Max Reif (8/31/2005 7:36:00 PM)

    Another sublime poem!
    I hope to read all of your.
    Wonderful!(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
Read all 10 comments »



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Read poems about / on: anger, fear, girl, child, beauty, red, world, life, change, children, sleep



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003