An epigraph


American Life in Poetry

It’s not at all unusual for a poet who’s been impressed by someone else’s poem to think, “I wish I’d written that!” I’ve never read a poem by the late Lisel Mueller – and I’ve read nearly all of them – when I didn’t feel just that way. Mueller died at age 96 this past February. Here’s the poem that stands as an epigraph to her Pulitzer Prize winning book, “Alive Together: New and Selected Poems,” published by Louisiana State University Press.

In Passing

How swiftly the strained honey

of afternoon light

flows into darkness

and the closed bud shrugs off

its special mystery

in order to break into blossom

as if what exists, exists

so that it can be lost

and become precious 

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