Summer 2000


Robert Bly



The Pharaoh's wives touch the mud with their toes.
You and I float in Moses' cradle. Dear friends, you and I
Are parted by a thin skin from the ignorance of the Nile.

Ghosts compose themselves from ground mist.
Friends, our souls are moist. "Dry souls are best,"
Plotinus said, but he was nursing at eleven.

Some children hear the thin words the dead speak.
Men piece out secrets hidden in prime numbers.
Women report what Eternity has told them to say.

Our cradle, like Moses', is porous to the Nile.
You and I will never have one whole day of light.
At three o'clock, a wall will creak, or a hare will die.

Beauty has reached us drenched in birth blood.
As our eyes open, bright blood splashes on the floor.
The baby's descent gives us a taste for war.

Some souls remember well, climb so high
They are remembered forever. But Macbeth fell
A thousand miles when the feathers touched his face.

Robert Bly's most recent poetry publications are EATING THE HONEY OF WORDS: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS (Harper Collins), THE LIGHTNING SHOULD HAVE FALLEN ON GHALIB: SELECTED POEMS OF GHALIB (with Sunil Dutta), (Ecco Press), and THE BEST AMERICAN POETRY 1999, ed. (Scribner)



send comments to

first electronic copyright 2000 poetrybay. 
all rights revert to authors

website comments to