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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Poetry Friday--A Grimm Birthday

On this day in 1786, Wilhelm Karl Grimm, German story teller and collector of tales, was born in Hanau, Germany. He and his brother, Jacob, who had been born in 1785, grew up to become famous for what is known as Grimms' Fairy Tales.

Lisel Mueller, in her collection Alive Together: New and Selected Poems [811.54 MUE] has a Grimm-related poem that is perfect for today:
Reading The Brothers Grimm To Jenny

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?

I hope you will seek out this volume of poetry for it is filled with many other, equally thoughtful, poems.

Today's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Karen Edmisten*. Please stop by.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Great poem, Diane. "Jenny, we make just dreams
    out of our unjust lives"