Robert Bly

Dealing with Parents

It’s hard to know what to say about parents: 
One man said: “I failed my parents.” He led his parents 
Across a lousy street—two lines of traffic. 
Another started a lost colony for his parents. 
He rowed across the river, towing his parents. 
He bought them boots and pith helmets, 
And sent them into battle. One man dressed them 
In Austrian uniforms and gave them 
Maps of Russia. No one ever saw them again. 
Another man who had studied alchemy 
Tried to transubstantiate his parents. It used 
A lot of heat but there wasn’t much change. 
Someone else I knew stored his parents 
In an empty cistern—the ladder is still sticking out. 
Another man tied his parents all one day 
And night in a rocking chair. And they 
died all right…But by the end, they 
Knew for certain that they’d had children.