Sometimes, When the Light

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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