What The Dog Perhaps Hears

If an inaudible whistle
blown between our lips
can send him home to us,
then silence is perhaps
the sound of spiders breathing
and roots mining the earth;
it may be asparagus heaving,
headfirst, into the light
and the long brown sound
of cracked cups, when it happens.
We would like to ask the dog
if there is a continuous whir
because the child in the house
keeps growing, if the snake
really stretches full length
without a click and the sun
breaks through clouds without
a decibel of effort,
whether in autumn, when the trees
dry up their wells, there isn't a shudder
too high for us to hear.

What is it like up there
above the shut-off level
of our simple ears?
For us there was no birth cry,
the newborn bird is suddenly here,
the egg broken, the nest alive,
and we heard nothing when the world changed.

by Lisel Mueller

Comments (9)

refreshing to read this poem with mueller's accessibility, pleasant and quirky imagination (which i relate to) , and her great nouns and verbs and images. it was here in ph i was recently introduced to her poetry, and i followed up by checking from my local library her pulitzer prize-winning book- it's full of good stuff! visually looking at how the poem is rendered here, i wonder if the last line should actually be two lines. to keep a poetic conversation going, here's a short poem of mine with similarities to this one: Dog sniffs intently round a spot of dirt- what worlds we don't know! glen kappy
that's the trouble with people they are always to busy to listen?
Excellent write! Excellent wit! ! ! Excellent companion for a long empty night.
Nice poem about living with happy dog. Thank you Lisel Mueller for this poem.
After reading the Moon Fishing I just couldn't stop and came to her page for more. This is poetry at best. Thank you for sharing your wonderful poems.
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