Robert Bly

Robert Bly Poems

A blind horse stands among cherry trees.
And bones shine from cool earth.
The heart leaps
Almost up to the sky! But laments

Night and day arrive and day after day goes by,
and what is old remains old, and what is young remains
young and grows old,

When we stride or stroll across the frozen lake,
We place our feet where they have never been.
We walk upon the unwalked. But we are uneasy.

Have you heard about the boy who walked by
The black water? I won't say much more.
Let's wait a few years. It wanted to be entered.
Sometimes a man walks by a pond, and a hand

Inside the veins there are navies setting forth
Tiny explosions at the water lines
And seagulls weaving in the wind of the salty blood.

No one grumbles among the oyster clans,
And lobsters play their bone guitars all summer.
Only we, with our opposable thumbs, want
Heaven to be, and God to come, again

Merchants have multiplied more than the stars of heaven.
Half the population are like the long grasshoppers
That sleep in the bushes in the cool of the day;

Dentists continue to water their lawns even in the rain:
Hands developed with terrible labor by apes
Hang from the sleeves of evangelists;
There are murdered kings in the light-bulbs outside movie theaters:

We drive between lakes just turning green;
Late June. The white turkeys have been moved
A second time to new grass.

I am driving; it is dusk; Minnesota.
The stubble field catches the last growth of sun.
The soybeans are breathing on all sides.

My dear children, do you remember the morning
When we climbed into the old Plymouth
And drove west straight toward the Pacific?

The drum says that the night we die will be a long night.
It says the children have time to play. Tell the grownups
They can pull the curtains around the bed tonight.

The Fathers put their trust in the end of the world
And they were wrong. The Gnostics were right and not
Right. Dragons copulate with their knobby tails.
Some somnolent wealth rises unconcerned,

There is so much sweetness in children's voices,
And so much discontent at the end of day,
And so much satisfaction when a train goes by.

Your head is still
restless, rolling
east and west.
That body in you

There is something men and women living in houses
Don't understand. The old alchemists standing
Near their stoves hinted at it a thousand times.

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

Robert Bly Biography

Robert Bly (born December 23, 1926) is an American poet, author, activist and leader of the mythopoetic men's movement, most famous for his Iron John: A Book About Men (1990), which spent 62 weeks on the The New York Times Best Seller list. For The Light Around the Body he won the 1968 National Book Award for Poetry. Bly was born in Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota, to Jacob and Alice Bly, who were of Norwegian ancestry. Following graduation from high school in 1944, he enlisted in the United States Navy, serving two years. After one year at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, he transferred to Harvard University, joining the later famous group of writers who were undergraduates at that time, including Donald Hall, Adrienne Rich, Kenneth Koch, Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, Harold Brodkey, George Plimpton and John Hawkes. He graduated in 1950 and spent the next few years in New York. Beginning in 1954, Bly spent two years at the University of Iowa at the Iowa Writers Workshop, completing a Masters degree in Fine Arts, along with W. D. Snodgrass, Donald Justice, and others. In 1956, he received a Fulbright Grant to travel to Norway and translate Norwegian poetry into English. While there, he found not only his relatives, but became acquainted with the work of a number of major poets whose work was barely known in the United States, among them Pablo Neruda, Cesar Vallejo, Antonio Machado, Gunnar Ekelof, Georg Trakl, Rumi, Hafez, Kabir, Mirabai, and Harry Martinson. Bly determined then to start a literary magazine for poetry translation in the United States. The Fifties, The Sixties, and The Seventies, introduced many of these poets to the writers of his generation. He also published essays on American poets. During this time, Bly lived on a farm in Minnesota, with his wife and children. His first marriage was to award-winning short story novelist Carol Bly. They had four children, including Mary Bly —a best-selling novelist and Literature Professor at Fordham University as of 2011— and divorced in 1979. Bly has been married to the former Ruth Ray since 1980; by that marriage he had a stepdaughter and stepson, although the stepson died in a pedestrian–train incident.)

The Best Poem Of Robert Bly

A Month Of Happiness

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 night.

Robert Bly Comments

Tim Hall 02 April 2021

these poems are a very bad selection. none of his best are here. it fell to the commenters to post a few of them. shame on you. and then, idiotically, your site declares 'successful' when one of us likes someone's comment. you are all idiots, besmirching the poetry of this man.

5 0 Reply
Anonymous 28 March 2019

Poems should be posted on this website for more than just 14 days.

1 1 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 02 March 2016

'The Loon's Cry' From far out in the center of the naked lake The loon's cry rose. It was the cry of someone who owned very little. [Robert Bly - from 'Silence in the Snowy Fields']

52 0 Reply
robert earl 05 November 2021

I read this poem some years ago and it dropped me into a place previously unknown.

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Fabrizio Frosini 02 March 2016

from 'Silence in the Snowy Fields': Winter Privacy Poems II My shack has two rooms; I use one. Te lamplight falls on my chair and table, And I fly into one of my own poems - I can't tell you where - As if I appeared where I am now, In a wet field, snow falling. IV On Meditation There is a solitude like black mud! Sitting in this darkness singing, I can't tell if this joy Is from the body, or the soul, or a third place! V Listening to Bach Inside this music there is someone Who is not well described by the names Of Jesus, or Jehovah, or the Lord of Hosts! (Robert Bly)

52 1 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 11 December 2015

Another poem by Robert Bly: ''Driving to Town Late to Mail a Letter '' It is a cold and snowy night. The main street is deserted. The only things moving are swirls of snow. As I lift the mailbox door, I feel its cold iron. There is a privacy I love in this snowy night. Driving around, I will waste more time.

62 1 Reply

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