The Lonesome Dream by Lisel Mueller

I wanted to share this awesome poem by Lisel Mueller I found in her Pulitzer Prize winning book I bought called Alive Together: New and Selected Poems.  Here goes


In the America of the dream

the first rise of the moon

swings free of the ocean,

and she reigns in her shining flesh

over a good, great valley

of plumed, untrampled grasses

and beasts with solemn eyes,

of lovers infallibly pitched

in their ascendant phase.


In this America, death

is virginal also, roaming

the good, great valley

in his huge boots, his shadow

steady and lean, his pistol

silver, his greeting clear

and courteous as a stranger’s

who looks for another, a mind

to share his peaceable evenings.


Dreaming, we are another

race than the one which wakes

in the cold sweat of fear,

fires wild shots at death,

builds slippery towers of glass

to head him off, waylays him

with alcohol traps, rides him down

in canyons of sex, and hides

in teetering ghost towns.


Dreaming, we are the mad

who swear by the blood of trees

and speak with the tongues of streams

through props of steel and sawdust,

a colony of souls

ravaged by visions, bound

to some wild, secret cove

not yet possessed, a place

still innocent in us.


—Lisel Mueller


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