What happened is, we grew lonely

The comma above is so subtle, but beautiful. It causes an unusual pause, as if a sigh, before an explanation of what happened. Andrew De Haan, age 22

living among the things,

so we gave the clock a face,

the chair a back,
the table four stout legs

which will never suffer fatigue.

I also like the way she calls everything we have “things”. It makes the lonely part of the first line seem that much more lonely. Patty Schlutt, age 14

We fitted our shoes with tongues

as smooth as our own

and hung tongues inside bells
so we could listen

to their emotional language,

and because we loved graceful profiles

the pitcher received a lip,
the bottle a long, slender neck.

When I read this poem, it sounds like the people in the poem created the world. I like it! Karina Bursch, age 12

Even what was beyond us

was recast in our image;

we gave the country a heart,
the storm an eye,
the cave a mouth

so we could pass into safety.

I love that the end of this poem draws the imagery together and implies that we personify all of these daily objects because we want to be able to control and shape the identity of these objects, so we feel more control over ourselves. Also, if we give things human characteristics, it is as if we then speak a common language with them…we can understand the storm, we aren’t afraid of the cave. Kara Madden, age 22
As the poem draws to an end, it gets clearer the astounding remark that Lisel Mueller is getting at here: humans by nature, not only create things similar to, and in reach of, ourselves, but we also attribute pieces of ourselves to things that are entirely different in order for us to feel more comfortable, more relatable, with these things. Andrew De Haan, age 22
Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.