"Alive Together": a poem for Valentine's Day

Okay.  I know it’s a little early.  But I couldn’t resist.  I discovered this poem the other day and thought it was too good not to pass along in time for World Marriage Day and, of course, Valentine’s Day.  Share it with someone you love.  :-)

Speaking of marvels, I am alive
together with you, when I might have been
alive with anyone under the sun,
when I might have been Abelard’s woman
or the whore of a Renaissance pop
or a peasant wife with not enough food
and not enough love, with my children
dead of the plague. I might have slept
in an alcove next to the man
with the golden nose, who poked it
into the business of stars,
or sewn a starry flag
for a general with wooden teeth.
I might have been the exemplary Pocahontas
or a woman without a name
weeping in Master’s bed
for my husband, exchanged for a mule,
my daughter, lost in a drunken bet.
I might have been stretched on a totem pole
to appease a vindictive god
or left, a useless girl-child,
to die on a cliff. I like to think
I might have been Mary Shelley
in love with a wrong-headed angel,
or Mary’s friend. I might have been you.
This poem is endless, the odds against us are endless,
our chances of being alive together
statistically nonexistent;
still we have made it, alive in a time
when rationalists in square hats
and hatless Jehovah’s Witnesses
agree it is almost over,
alive with our lively children
who–but for endless ifs–
might have missed out on being alive
together with marvels and follies
and longings and lies and wishes
and error and humor and mercy
and journeys and voices and faces
and colors and summers and mornings
and knowledge and tears and chance.

“Alive Together” by Lisel Mueller

Comments

  1. What a wonderful poem. It reminds me of a Celtic prayer I have on my fridge:
    Thanks be to you, O God, that through my body and the bodies of men and women everywhere heaven’s creativity is born on earth, children of eternity are conceived in time and everlasting bonds of tenderness are forged amidst the hardness of life’s struggles, thanks be to you.

  2. Line 5 – “Renaissance pope,” maybe?

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