Robert Bly





Awakening

We are approaching sleep: the chestnut blossoms in the mind  
Mingle with thoughts of pain, 
And the long roots of barley, bitterness 
As of the oak roots staining the water dark 
In Louisiana, the wet streets soaked with rain 
And sodden blossoms, out of this 
We have come, a tunnel softly hurtling into darkness.

The storm is coming. The small farmhouse in Minnesota  
Is hardly strong enough for the storm. 
Darkness, darkness in the grasses, darkness in trees.  
Even the water in wells trembles. 
Bodies give off darkness, and chrysanthemums 
Are dark, and horses, who are bearing great loads of hay 
To the deep barns where the dark air is moving from the corners.

Lincoln’s statue, and the traffic. From the long past 
Into the long present 
A bird forgotten in these pressures, warbling, 
As the great wheel turns around, grinding 
The living in water. 
Washing, continual washing, in water now stained 
With blossoms and rotting logs, cries half-
Muffled, from beneath the earth, the living finally as awake as the dead.