Treasure Island

Lisel Mueller

(February 8, 1924)

Moon Fishing


When the moon was full they came to the water.
some with pitchforks, some with rakes,
some with sieves and ladles,
and one with a silver cup.

And they fished til a traveler passed them and said,
"Fools,
to catch the moon you must let your women
spread their hair on the water --
even the wily moon will leap to that bobbing
net of shimmering threads,
gasp and flop till its silver scales
lie black and still at your feet."

And they fished with the hair of their women
till a traveler passed them and said,
"Fools,
do you think the moon is caught lightly,
with glitter and silk threads?
You must cut out your hearts and bait your hooks
with those dark animals;
what matter you lose your hearts to reel in your dream?"

And they fished with their tight, hot hearts
till a traveler passed them and said,
"Fools,
what good is the moon to a heartless man?
Put back your hearts and get on your knees
and drink as you never have,
until your throats are coated with silver
and your voices ring like bells."

And they fished with their lips and tongues
until the water was gone
and the moon had slipped away
in the soft, bottomless mud.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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Comments about this poem (Moon Fishing by Lisel Mueller )

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  • Mairi MacSween (10/3/2009 6:29:00 PM)

    oh what a magical poem to discover by the light of the harvest moon
    - hearts as dark animals - voices ringing like bells - moon fishing casts a spell x (Report) Reply

  • Mary Nagy (9/1/2005 2:09:00 PM)

    You have such a great imagination Lisel. The lesson I take from this is 'Don't listen to what everybody else has to say'. Very nice poem. Sincerely, Mary (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »

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