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Robert Bly Poems

A collection of select Robert Bly famous poems that were written by Robert Bly or written about the poet by other famous poets. PoetrySoup is a comprehensive educational resource of the greatest poems and poets on history.

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by Bly, Robert
I start out for a walk at last after weeks at the desk.
Moon gone plowing underfoot no stars; not a trace of light!
Suppose a horse were galloping toward me in this open field?
Every day I did not spend in solitude was wasted....Read More



by Bly, Robert
All day I loved you in a fever holding on to the tail of the horse.
I overflowed whenever I reached out to touch you.
My hand moved over your body covered
With its dress 
Burning rough an animal's hand or foot moving over leaves.
The rainstorm retires clouds open sunlight
sliding over ocean water a thousand miles from land....Read More

by Bly, Robert
Let's count the bodies over again.

If we could only make the bodies smaller 
The size of skulls 
We could make a whole plain white with skulls in the moonlight!

If we could only make the bodies smaller 
Maybe we could get
A whole year's kill in front of us on a desk!

If we could only make the bodies smaller 
We could fit
A...Read More

by Bly, Robert
As I drive my parents home through the snow 
their frailty hesitates on the edge of a mountainside.
I call over the cliff 
only snow answers.
They talk quietly
of hauling water of eating an orange 
of a grandchild's photograph left behind last night.
When they open the door of their house they disappear.
And the oak when it falls in the forest who hears...Read More

by Bly, Robert
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....Read More



by Bly, Robert
Nigh and day arrive and day after day goes by 
And what is old remains old and what is young remains young and grows old.
The lumber pile does not grow younger nor the two-by-fours lose their darkness 
but the old tree goes on the barn stands without help so many years;
the advocate of darkness and night is not lost.

The horse...Read More

by Bly, Robert
There has been a light snow.
Dark car tracks move in out of the darkness.
I stare at the train window marked with soft dust.
I have awakened at Missoula Montana utterly happy....Read More

by Bly, Robert
In rainy September when leaves grow down to the dark 
I put my forehead down to the damp seaweed-smelling sand.
What can we do but choose? The only way for human beings
is to choose. The fern has no choice but to live;
for this crime it receives earth water and night.

we close the door. "I have no claim on you."
Dusk comes. "The...Read More

by Bly, Robert
These insects golden
And Arabic sailing in the husks of galleons 
Their octagonal heads also
Hold sand paintings of the next life....Read More

by Bly, Robert
Conversation brings us so close! Opening
The surfs of the body 
Bringing fish up near the sun 
And stiffening the backbones of the sea!

I have wandered in a face for hours 
Passing through dark fires.
I have risen to a body
Not yet born 
Existing like a light around the body
Through which the body moves like a sliding moon....Read More

by Bly, Robert
Grass high under apple trees.
The bark of the trees rough and sexual 
the grass growing heavy and uneven.

We cannot bear disaster like
the rocks-
swaying nakedly
in open fields.

One slight bruise and we die!
I know no one on this train.
A man comes walking down the aisle.
I want to tell him
that I forgive him that I want him
to forgive me....Read More

by Bly, Robert
1

Oh on an early morning I think I shall live forever!
I am wrapped in my joyful flesh 
As the grass is wrapped in its clouds of green.

2

Rising from a bed where I dreamt
Of long rides past castles and hot coals 
The sun lies happily on my knees;
I have suffered and survived the night
Bathed in dark water like any blade of...Read More

by Bly, Robert
 Those great sweeps of snow that stop suddenly six
feet from the house ...
Thoughts that go so far.
The boy gets out of high school and reads no more
books;
the son stops calling home.
The mother puts down her rolling pin and makes no
more bread.
And the wife looks at her husband one night at a
party, and loves him no more.
The energy leaves the...Read More

by Bly, Robert
1

The grass is half-covered with snow.
It was the sort of snowfall that starts in late afternoon 
And now the little houses of the grass are growing dark.

2

If I reached my hands down near the earth 
I could take handfuls of darkness!
A darkness was always there which we never noticed.

3

As the snow grows heavier the cornstalks fade farther away 
And the...Read More

by Bly, Robert
There is unknown dust that is near us 
Waves breaking on shores just over the hill 
Trees full of birds that we have never seen 
Nets drawn with dark fish.

The evening arrives; we look up and it is there 
It has come through the nets of the stars 
Through the tissues of the grass 
Walking quietly over the asylums of...Read More

by Bly, Robert
 Tell me about the train that people say got buried
By the avalanche--was it snow?--It was
In Colorado, and no one saw it happen.
There was smoke from the engine curling up

Lightly through fir tops, and the engine sounds.
There were all those people reading--some
From Thoreau, some from Henry Ward Beecher.
And the engineer smoking and putting his head out.

I wonder when that happened....Read More

by Bly, Robert
 (For Donald Hall)

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
Reaches out and pulls him in.

There was no
Intention, exactly. The pond was lonely, or needed
Calcium, bones would do. What happened then?

It was a little...Read More

by Bly, Robert
Darkness is falling through darkness 
Falling from ledge
To ledge.
There is a man whose body is perfectly whole.
He stands the storm behind him 
And the grass blades are leaping in the wind.
Darkness is gathered in folds
About his feet.
He is no one. When we see
Him we grow calm 
And sail on into the tunnels of joyful death....Read More

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

It is the morning. The country has slept the whole winter.
Window seats were covered with fur skins the yard was full
Of stiff dogs and hands that clumsily held heavy books.

Now we wake and rise from bed and...Read More

by Bly, Robert
How strange to think of giving up all ambition!
Suddenly I see with such clear eyes
The white flake of snow
That has just fallen in the horse's mane!...Read More