Robert Bly

When the Dumb Speak

There is a joyful night in which we lose 
Everything, and drift
Like a radish
Rising and falling, and the ocean at last 
Throws us into the ocean;
In that ocean we are sinking
As if floating on darkness.
The body raging,
And driving itself, disappearing in smoke:
Walks in large cities late at night,
Reading the Bible in Christian Science windows, 
Or reading a history of Bougainville:
Then the images appear—
Images of grief,
Images of the body shaken in the grave, 
And the graves filled with seawater; 
Fires in the sea,
Bodies smoldering like ships,
Images of wasted life,
Life lost, imagination ruined,
The house fallen,
The gold sticks broken!
Then shall the talkative be silent
And the dumb will speak.