Birthday Poems - Poems For Birthday - For A Thirteenth Birthday - Poem by Lisel Mueller | Poem Hunter

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For A Thirteenth Birthday - Poem by Lisel Mueller

You have read War and Peace.
Now here is Sister Carrie,
not up to Tolstoy; still
it will second the real world:
predictable planes and levels,
pavement that holds you,
stairs that lift you,
ice that trips you,
nights that begin after sunset,
four lunar phases,
a finite house.

I give you Dreiser
although (or because)
I am no longer sure.
Lately I have been walking into glass doors.
Through the car windows, curbs disappear.
On the highway, wrong turnoffs become irresistible,
someone else is controlling the wheel.
Sleepless nights pile up like a police record;
all my friends are getting divorced.
Language, my old comrade, deserts me;
words are misused or forgotten,
consonants fight each other
between my upper and lower teeth.
I write "fiend" for "friend"
and "word" for "world",
remember comes out with an "m" missing.

I used to be able to find my way in the dark,
sure of the furniture,
but the town I lived in for years
has pulled up its streets in my absence,
disguised its buildings behind my back.
My neighbor at dinner glances
at his cuffs, his palms;
he has memorized certain phrases,
but does not speak my language.
Suddenly I am aware
no one at the table does.

And so I give you Dreiser,
his measure of certainty:
a table that's oak all the way through,
real and fragrant flowers,
skirts from sheep and silkworms,
no unknown fibers;
a language as plain as money,
a workable means of exchange;
a world whose very meanness is solid,
mud into mortar, and you are sure
of what will injure you.

I give you names like nails,
walls that withstand your pounding,
doors that are hard to open,
but once they are open, admit you
into rooms that breathe pure sun.
I give you trees that lose their leaves,
as you knew they would,
and then come green again.
I give you
fruit preceded by flowers,
Venus supreme in the sky,
the miracle of always
landing on your feet,
even though the earth
rotates on its axis.

Start out with that, at least.


Comments about For A Thirteenth Birthday by Lisel Mueller

  • Gold Star - 467,029 Points Edward Kofi Louis (12/8/2017 6:33:00 PM)

    After Sunset! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 50,492 Points Sylvia Frances Chan (12/8/2017 6:23:00 PM)

    CONGRATULATIONS on your Poem Of The DAY, Mrs. Mueller. I cannot write as many words or as long as I wished, so that´s why I have the response in a couple of times. AD. Saturday the 9th December 2017 at 1.10 Hrs AM. West-European Time. We are a couple of hours ahead.in the USA it is now still yesterday (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 50,492 Points Sylvia Frances Chan (12/8/2017 6:06:00 PM)

    LAST PART: continued
    Congratulations with your poem of The Day, Mrs.Mueller. With the very best wishes, sincerely Sylvia Frances Chan. A TEN for your very precious words in this Poem of The Day. (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »

Poems About Birthday

  1. 1. A Birthday Poem , Ted Kooser
  2. 2. A Birthday , Christina Georgina Rossetti
  3. 3. Poem On His Birthday , Dylan Thomas
  4. 4. Ninetieth Birthday , Ronald Stuart Thomas
  5. 5. Birthday, Birthday, Happy Birthday , Udiah (witness to Yah)
  6. 6. Poem For My 43rd Birthday , Charles Bukowski
  7. 7. A Prayer For A Mother's Birthday , Henry Van Dyke
  8. 8. A Birthday , Aleister Crowley
  9. 9. Happy Birthday , Sylvia Chidi
  10. 10. A Birthday Candle , Donald Justice
  11. 11. The Birthday Card , Ernestine Northover
  12. 12. Ninon De Lenclos, On Her Last Birthday , Dorothy Parker
  13. 13. For A Thirteenth Birthday , Lisel Mueller
  14. 14. For K.R. On Her Sixtieth Birthday , Richard Wilbur
  15. 15. A Birthday Song. To S. G. , Sidney Lanier
  16. 16. Stella's Birthday March 13, 1727 , Jonathan Swift
  17. 17. To The Memory Of Mrs. Lefroy Who Died De.. , Jane Austen
  18. 18. Birthday , Robert William Service
  19. 19. ! A Birthday Celebration , Michael Shepherd
  20. 20. On His Eightieth Birthday , Walter Savage Landor
  21. 21. A Ninth Birthday , Algernon Charles Swinburne
  22. 22. Birthday , Yevgeny Yevtushenko
  23. 23. (dodgy Dave Tale) Happy Birthday , JoJo Bean
  24. 24. A Happy Birthday Sonnet For Jerry , Alison Cassidy
  25. 25. A Strictly Not A Poem Birthday Greeting .. , Alison Cassidy
  26. 26. On My Birthday, July 21 , Matthew Prior
  27. 27. The Celebration Of Jesus' Birthday , Helen Click Roberts
  28. 28. Birthday - Birthday Appreciation , Shashi Dhar Kumar
  29. 29. The Birthday Wall (Children) , C.J. Heck
  30. 30. A Birthday Poem , john tiong chunghoo
  31. 31. Nursery Rhyme For A Twenty-First Birthday , Arthur Seymour John Tessimond
  32. 32. Best Birthday Haiku- Birthday Cake , john tiong chunghoo
  33. 33. A Birthday Poem For Keppel , Alison Cassidy
  34. 34. Happy Birthday Dad , Jim Milks
  35. 35. February 21 - Whose Birthday Today? , Michael Shepherd
  36. 36. A Birthday Gift , Robert Fuller Murray
  37. 37. Song Composed For Washington's Birthday , Henry Timrod
  38. 38. A Birthday Night Out , Alison Cassidy
  39. 39. Happy 10th Birthday Samia , Seema Chowdhury
  40. 40. Happy 37th Birthday Sunny , Seema Chowdhury
  41. 41. I Know She'Ll Be Alright (For Chelsey's .. , Mary Nagy
  42. 42. Birthday Wishes To A Physician , Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer
  43. 43. My Daughter On Her Thirtieth Birthday , Alison Cassidy
  44. 44. Happy Birthday, My Dear Wife! , Dr. A.Celestine Raj Manohar ..
  45. 45. A Limerick To Esther Leclerc On Her Birt.. , Chuck Audette
  46. 46. An Ode To Anna Russell, On Her Birthday , Chuck Audette
  47. 47. Happy Birthday Dad , Arfa Karim
  48. 48. Happy Birthday..... , Ravi Sathasivam
  49. 49. Happy Birthday To My Daughter , Pauline Grace
  50. 50. ! On Rilke's Birthday,2007 , Michael Shepherd
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