Robert Bly

Walking Swiftly

    When I wake, I hear sheep eating apple peels just outside the
screen. The trees are heavy, soaked, cold and hushed, the sun just
rising. All seems calm, and yet somewhere inside I am not calm.
We live in wooden buildings made of two-by-fours, making the
landscape nervous for a hundred miles. And the Emperor when
he was sixty called for rhinoceros horn, for sky-blue phoenix eggs
shaped from veined rock, dipped in rooster blood. Around him
the wasps kept guard, the hens continued their patrol, the oysters
open and close all questions. The heat inside the human body
grows, it does not know where to throw itself—for a while it knots
into will, heavy, burning, sweet, then into generosity, that longs
to take on the burdens of others, and then into mad love. The
artist walks swiftly to his studio, and carves oceanic waves into the
dragon’s mane.