Please Pass It Around

July 11, 2012


There are thousands upon thousands of poems about love, many of them using predictable words, predictable rhymes. Ho-hum. But here the Illinois poet Lisel Mueller talks about love in a totally fresh and new way, in terms of table salt. [Introduction by Ted Kooser.]

Love Like Salt

It lies in our hands in crystals
too intricate to decipher

It goes into the skillet
without being given a second thought

It spills on the floor so fine
we step all over it

We carry a pinch behind each eyeball

It breaks out on our foreheads

We store it inside our bodies
in secret wineskins

At supper, we pass it around the table
talking of holidays and the sea.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Reprinted from Alive Together: New and Selected Poems (LSU Press, 1996) by permission of the author. Poem copyright © 1996 by Lisel Mueller. Introduction copyright © 2012 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

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2 comments

  1. Very interesting taking a different view. Thanks for sharing this.

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  2. Hi, Claire--I thought this was a very interesting poem and loved its spareness and clarity. Glad you liked it too.

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