Things by Lisel Mueller 

What happened is, we grew lonely1
living among the things,
so we gave the clock a face,
the chair a back,
the table four stout2 legs
which will never suffer fatigue3.

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 graceful4 profiles
the pitcher received a lip,
the bottle a long, slender neck.

Even what was beyond us
was recast5 in our image;
we gave the country a heart,
the storm an eye,
the cave a mouth
so we could pass into safety.

About the Poem

‘Things’ by Lisel Mueller explores loneliness, how humans have reacted to this emotion in the form of personifying their surroundings. Mueller suggests that humans have a tendency to fear being alone. From this, we have created a series of personified objects, ingraining personification in our everyday language. ‘Things’ documents this obsession, moving through objects as Mueller explores the world.

Source : poem analysis

Editor’s notes

1 all alone
2 strong and thick literary
3 very great tiredness
4 having a smooth and pleasing shape or style
5 to change by organizing in a different way

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