Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Favorite Poem for Thursday

How does she do it? Such simple language and easy lines, yet they accrue until the poems seems inevitable. Meant to be. I've read this poem hundreds of times and hope to read it many more. I feel a tad foolish confessing that this little poem is one of my favorites, but it is. Perhaps it came into my life well over a decade ago when I was just getting serious about my own poetry. In any case, it never disappoints. Enjoy!

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 by the sea.

Lisel Muller

Alive Together: New and Selected Poems

LSU Press


  1. Lovely poem -- thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Martha,
    Mueller also wrote the poem "Monet Considers the Operation" that I am sure you know. It's in the packet on ekphrasis :-)

  3. Mueller is one of my favorite poets. Thanks for posting this wonderful poem.

  4. Thank you so much for this amazing poem. I will add it to my journal so that I can savor it again and again.

  5. Erin, I am really thrilled to introduce you to this poem. And it's always nice to know that I am not the only one who thinks its wonderful. Thanks for writing!

  6. I enjoyed being introduced to this poem, too, a few days ago, and wasn't going to comment until I read (for the first time) today another wonderful salt poem -- this one in *Taste and See: Food Poems*:


    People still die for it.
            Gandhi marched to the sea
            for it. The heart spasms

            without it, the muscles cramp.
    Last night I sobbed crazily
    and the salt appeared on cue,

    residue of fifty years.
            The body floats in it.
            The oceans are drenched in it.

    the soul must feel
            at home in it,

            among the measuring
            spoons and shakers,
    among the bitter, shining

    crystals of salt --
            even in the Great Salt
            Desert. Boil

            any pot of water
    and all your plans will vanish
    except for the salts.

    Susan Kelly-DeWitt

  7. Geoff, Thanks for reminding me of this poem. What is it about salt? I suspect it's something to do with it being elemental and ordinary, beautiful and multi-faceted!