Robert Bly

The Difficult Word

The oaks reluctantly let their leaves fall,
And hesitatingly allow their branches to be bare;
And the Bear spends all winter in separation.

The beauty of marriage is such that it dissolves
All earlier unions, and leads man and wife
To walk together on the road of separation.

The word is a difficult one. The thought frightens us
That this planet with all its darkening geese
Was created not for union but for separation.

Suppose there were a dragon curled inside each drop
Of water, defending its gold. It’s possible
That abundance has the same effect as separation.

Each of us was glad floating in the loopy
Joy of the womb; but when our lips touched
Our mother’s breast, we said, “This is separation.”

It is my longing to smooth the feathers
Of birds and touch the hair of horses for hours
That has led me to spend my life in separation.