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Robert Bly: Online Poems


The Cat in the Kitchen
(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 like the night wind, which is soft,
And moves slowly, sighing like an old woman
In her kitchen late at night, moving pans
About, lighting a fire, making some food for the cat.

Robert Bly. Online Source


Snowbanks North of the House

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 wine, and the minister falls
leaving the church.
It will not come closer
the one inside moves back, and the hands touch
nothing, and are safe.

The father grieves for his son, and will not leave the
room where the coffin stands.
He turns away from his wife, and she sleeps alone.

And the sea lifts and falls all night, the moon goes on
through the unattached heavens alone.

The toe of the shoe pivots
in the dust ...
And the man in the black coat turns, and goes back
down the hill.
No one knows why he came, or why he turned away,
and did not climb the hill.

Bly, Robert. 1981. from The Man in the Black Coat Turns. Online Source


The Buried Train

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. Was it after
High School, or was it the year we were two?
We entered this narrow place, and we heard the sound
Above us--the train couldn't move fast enough.

It isn't clear what happened next. Are you and I
Still sitting there in the train, waiting for the lights
To go on? Or did the real train get really buried;
So at night a ghost train comes out and keeps going...

Robert Bly. Online Source


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