Robert Bly

Bad People

A man told me once that all the bad people 
Were needed. Maybe not all, but your fingernails 
You need; they are really claws, and we know 
Claws. The sharks—what about them? 
They make other fish swim faster. The hard-faced men  
In black coats who chase you for hours 
In dreams—that's the only way to get you 
To the shore. Sometimes those hard women 
Who abandon you get you to say, "You." 
A lazy part of us is like a tumbleweed. 
It doesn't move on its own. Sometimes it takes  
A lot of Depression to get tumbleweeds moving. 
Then they blow across three or four States. 
This man told me that things work together. 
Bad handwriting sometimes leads to new ideas; 
And a careless God—who refuses to let people
Eat from the Tree of Knowledge—can lead 
To books, and eventually to us. We write 
Poems with lies in them, but they help a little.