Lisel Mueller

(February 8, 1924)

Reading The Brothers Grimm To Jenny - Poem by Lisel Mueller

Jenny, your mind commands
kingdoms of black and white:
you shoulder the crow on your left,
the snowbird on your right;
for you the cinders part
and let the lentils through,
and noise falls into place
as screech or sweet roo-coo,
while in my own, real, world
gray foxes and gray wolves
bargain eye to eye,
and the amazing dove
takes shelter under the wing
of the raven to keep dry.

Knowing that you must climb,
one day, the ancient tower
where disenchantment binds
the curls of innocence,
that you must live with power
and honor circumstance,
that choice is what comes true--
oh, Jenny, pure in heart,
why do I lie to you?

Why do I read you tales
in which birds speak the truth
and pity cures the blind,
and beauty reaches deep
to prove a royal mind?
Death is a small mistake
there, where the kiss revives;
Jenny, we make just dreams
out of our unjust lives.

Still, when your truthful eyes,
your keen, attentive stare,
endow the vacuous slut
with royalty, when you match
her soul to her shimmering hair,
what can she do but rise
to your imagined throne?
And what can I, but see
beyond the world that is,
when, faithful, you insist
I have the golden key--
and learn from you once more
the terror and the bliss,
the world as it might be?

Submitted by David Shackelford

Comments about Reading The Brothers Grimm To Jenny by Lisel Mueller

  • Rookie - 45 Points Colleen Courtney (5/17/2014 5:42:00 PM)

    The amazing dove takes shelter under the wing of the raven to keep dry. Amazingly beautiful! (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rookie - 14 Points Sue Ann Simar (6/15/2012 6:33:00 PM)

    we make just dreams out of our unjust lives (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: raven, innocence, kiss, power, world, truth, hair, beauty, death, dream, rose

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

[Hata Bildir]