Robert Bly

POETRY: Seeing The Eclipse In Maine by Robert Bly

November 17, 2018

It started about noon. On top of Mount Batte, We were all exclaiming. Someone had a cardboard And a pin, and we all cried out when the sun Appeared in tiny form on the notebook cover. It was hard to believe. The high school teacher We’d met called it a pinhole camera, People in the Renaissance loved to do that. And when the moon had passed partly through We saw on a rock underneath a fir tree, Dozens of crescents—made the same way— Thousands! Even our straw hats produced A few as we moved them over the bare granite. We shared chocolate, and one man from Maine Told a joke. Suns were everywhere—at our [...]

POETRY: A Month Of Happiness by Robert Bly

November 9, 2018

A blind horse stands among cherry trees. And bones shine from cool earth. The heart leaps Almost up to the sky! But laments And filaments pull us back into the dark. Night takes us. But A paw Comes out of the dark To light the road. I’ll be all right. I follow my own fiery traces through the [...]

POETRY: The Resemblance Between Your Life And A Dog by Robert Bly

November 2, 2018

I never intended to have this life, believe me— It just happened. You know how dogs turn up At a farm, and they wag but can’t explain. It’s good if you can accept your life—you’ll notice Your face has become deranged trying to adjust To it. Your face thought your life would look Like your bedroom mirror when you were ten. That was a clear river touched by mountain wind. Even your parents can’t believe how much you’ve changed. Sparrows in winter, if you’ve ever held one, all feathers, Burst out of your hand with a fiery glee. You see them later in hedges. Teachers praise you, But you can’t quite get back to the winter sparrow. Your life is a dog. He’s been hungry for miles, Doesn’t [...]

POETRY: Tasting Heaven by Robert Bly

October 19, 2018

Some people say that every poem should have God in it somewhere. But of course Wallace Stevens Wasn’t one of those. We live, he said, “in a world Without heaven to follow.” Shall we agree That we taste heaven only once, when we see Her at fifteen walking among falling leaves? It’s possible. And yet as Stevens lay dying He invited the priest in. There, I’ve said it. The priest is not an argument, only an instance. But our gusty emotions say to me that we have Tasted heaven many times: these delicacies Are left over from some larger [...]

POETRY: Things To Think by Robert Bly

October 12, 2018

Think in ways you’ve never thought before If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message Larger than anything you’ve ever heard. Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats. Think that someone may bring a bear to your door, Maybe wounded and deranged; or think that a moose Has risen out of the lake, and he’s carrying on his antlers A child of your own whom you’ve never seen. When someone knocks on the door, think that he’s about To give you something large: tell you you’re forgiven. Or that it’s not necessary to work all the time, or that it’s Been decided that if you lie down no one will [...]

POETRY: People Like Us by Robert Bly

October 5, 2018

for James Wright There are more like us. All over the world there are confused people, who can’t remember The name of their dog when they wake up, and people Who love God but can’t remember where He was when they went to sleep. It’s All right. The world cleanses itself this way. A wrong number occurs to you in the middle Of the night, you dial it, it rings just in time To save the house. And the second-story man Gets the wrong address, where the insomniac lives, And he’s lonely, and they talk, and the thief Goes back to college. Even in graduate school, You can wander into the wrong classroom, And hear great poems lovingly spoken By the wrong professor. And you find your soul, And greatness has a defender, and even in death [...]

POETRY: Silence by Robert Bly

June 29, 2016

The fall has come, clear as the eyes of chickens. Strange muffled sounds come from the sea, Sounds of muffled oarlocks, And swampings in lonely bays, Surf crashing on unchristened shores, And the wash of tiny snail shells in the wandering gravel. My body also wanders among these doorposts and cars, Cradling a pen, or walking down a stair Holding a cup in my hand, And not breaking into the pastures that lie in the sunlight. This is the sloth of the man inside the body, The sloth of the body lost among the wandering stones of kindness. Something homeless is looking on the long roads— A dog lost since midnight, a small duck Among the odorous reeds, Or a tiny box-elder bug searching for the window pane. Even the young sunlight is lost on the [...]

POETRY: St. George, The Dragon, And The Virgin by Robert Bly

September 24, 2014

A sculpture made by Bernt Notke in 1489 for Stockholm Cathedral St. George fights the dragon. The spiny dragon, Who lives in the rat- Filled caves, is losing. He fights back, As when a child Lifts his four Feet to hold Off the insane Parent. The dragon Hand grasps the wooden Lance that has Penetrated his thorny Chest, but… Too late… And this girlish knight? Oh I know him. I read the New Testament as I lay Naked on my bed As a boy. That solar boy Rises up radiant With his forehead— Eye that sees past The criminals’ gibbet To the mindful Towers of the spirit city. I hate this boy Whom I have been Lifting his lance above The father. Each of us Has been this harsh Dragon on his back. He is Joseph, Grendel, What we have forgotten, [...]

POETRY: Poems On Wayward Children, et alia

March 26, 2014

The Prodigal Son’s Brother Steve Kowit who’d been steadfast as small change all his life forgave the one who bounced back like a bad check the moment his father told him he ought to. After all, that’s what being good means. In fact, it was he who hosted the party, bought the crepes & champagne, uncorked every bottle. With each drink another toast to his brother: ex-swindler, hit-man & rapist. By the end of the night the entire village was blithering drunk in an orgy of hugs & forgiveness, while he himself, whose one wish was to be loved as profusely, slipped in & out of their houses, stuffing into a satchel their brooches & rings & bracelets & candelabra. Then lit out at dawn with a light heart [...]

POETRY: On Our Own

March 19, 2014

Solitude (1) Tomas Tranströmer I was nearly killed here, one night in February. My car shivered, and slewed sideways on the ice, right across into the other lane. The slur of traffic came at me with their [...]

POETRY: The Measuring Worm, and other beastie poems

August 29, 2012

A Measuring Worm This yellow striped green Caterpillar, climbing up The steep window screen, Constantly (for lack Of a full set of legs) keeps Humping up his back. It’s as if he sent By a sort of semaphore Dark omegas meant To warn of Last Things. Although he doesn’t know it, He will soon have wings, And I, too, don’t know Toward what undreamt condition Inch by inch I go. (Richard Wilbur) Parable of the Moth Consider this: a moth flies into a man’s ear One ordinary evening of unnoticed pleasures. When the moth beats its wings, all the winds Of earth gather in his ear, roar like nothing He has ever heard. He shakes and shakes His head, has his wife dig deep into his ear With a Q-tip, but the roar will not cease. It seems as if all [...]