Tag: robert bly

Ted Hughes, “Wodwo”


What am I? Nosing here, turning leaves over
Following a faint stain on the air to the river’s edge
I enter water. Who am I to split
The glassy grain of water looking upward I see the bed
Of the river above me upside down very clear
What am I doing here in mid-air? Why do I find
this frog so interesting as I inspect its most secret
interior and make it my own? Do these weeds
know me and name me to each other have they
seen me before do I fit in their world? I seem
separate from the ground and not rooted but dropped
out of nothing casually I’ve no threads
fastening me to anything I can go anywhere
I seem to have been given the freedom
of this place what am I then? And picking
bits of bark off this rotten stump gives me
no pleasure and it’s no use so why do I do it
me and doing that have coincided very queerly
But what shall I be called am I the first
have I an owner what shape am I what
shape am I am I huge if I go
to the end on this way past these trees and past these trees
till I get tired that’s touching one wall of me
for the moment if I sit still how everything
stops to watch me I suppose I am the exact centre
but there’s all this what is it roots
roots roots roots and here’s the water
again very queer but I’ll go on looking

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Robert Bly, “When We Became Lovers”


Do you laugh or cry when you hear the poet sing?
“Out of the first warmth of the spring, and out
Of the shine of the hemlocks…” It’s the hemlocks, then,

Swaying above the grasses in the cemetery,
That encourage us in our affair with the world,
We have secret meetings with moss at night.

When the night-singer sang, did you notice the mice
Going by? They leave tracks like the setting stars.
Haven’t you heard the grunting of the hollyhocks,

Bringing forth their hairy life by the widow’s door?
Gravestones gather up stray tufts of time
That wind would otherwise scatter in the fields.

You and I have been in love with the moon
Rising for a long time, ever since the day
Our mothers took our hands in the spring field.

That was the day we heard the cry of the hemlocks.
We became lovers then; and our road was decided.
We laughed and cried over the warmth of the spring.

From The Night Abraham Called to the Stars. “Gravestones gather up stray tufts of time / That wind would otherwise scatter in the fields.” This line just leaves me speechless.

Robert Bly, “Poem Against the British”


The wind through the box-elder trees
Is like rides at dusk on a white horse,
Wars for your country, and fighting the British.

I winder if Washington listened to the trees.
All morning I have been sitting in grass,
Higher than my eyes, beneath the trees,
And listening upward, to the wind in the leaves.
Suddenly I realize there is one thing more:
There is also the wind through the high grass.

There are palaces, boats, silence among white buildings,
Iced drinks on marble tops, among cool rooms;
It is good also to be poor, and listen to the wind.

From Silence in the Snowy Fields.