Sometimes, When the Light

By Lisel Mueller b. 1924 Lisel Mueller
Sometimes, when the light strikes at odd angles
and pulls you back into childhood
 
and you are passing a crumbling mansion
completely hidden behind old willows
 
or an empty convent guarded by hemlocks
and giant firs standing hip to hip,
 
you know again that behind that wall,
under the uncut hair of the willows
 
something secret is going on,
so marvelous and dangerous
 
that if you crawled through and saw,
you would die, or be happy forever.

Poem copyright ©1980 by Lisel Mueller, from her most recent book of poems, Alive Together: New and Selected Poems, Louisiana State University Press, 1996. Poem reprinted by permission of Lisel Mueller and the publisher.

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Poet Lisel Mueller b. 1924

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

 Lisel  Mueller

Biography

Poet and translator Lisel Mueller was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1924. The daughter of teachers, her family was forced to flee the Nazi regime when Mueller was 15. They immigrated to the US and settled in the Mid-west. Mueller attended the University of Evansville, where her father was a professor, and did her graduate study at Indiana University. Her collections of poetry include The Private Life, which was the 1975 Lamont . . .

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POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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