Robert Bly

Stealing Sugar from the Castle

We are poor students who stay after school to study joy.  
We are like those birds in the India mountains. 
I am a widow whose child is her only joy.

The only thing I hold in my ant-like head  
Is the builder’s plan of the castle of sugar.  
Just to steal one grain of sugar is a joy!

Like a bird, we fly out of darkness into the hall,  
Which is lit with singing, then fly out again.  
Being shut out of the warm hall is also a joy.

I am a laggard, a loafer, and an idiot. But I love  
To read about those who caught one glimpse  
Of the Face, and died twenty years later in joy.

I don’t mind your saying I will die soon. 
Even in the sound of the word soon, I hear 
The word you which begins every sentence of joy.

“You’re a thief!” the judge said. “Let’s see 
Your hands!” I showed my callused hands in court.  
My sentence was a thousand years of joy.