Robert Bly

It Takes a Long Time

Let the insects go on shouting their hallelujahs; 
Let the crickets go on hiding their parents; 
Let the goats complain they can’t find Jerusalem.

Eternity waits for the moose to start moving. 
The mouse keeps circling around for its own tail. 
Finally it just curls up and goes to sleep.

We know how long it takes to make a waterfall, 
How many years the oak tree waits in the orchard, 
How long the caterpillar takes to wash his feet.

The sitarist's head bends over the skinny sitar. 
Notes come in from a hundred Indian villages. 
The long notes sweeten the sea bottom.

It will be years before the great dragon returns. 
Meanwhile, our grandmother has a lot to do, 
And the tired birds keep flying over the ocean.

It will be years before the busy sea calms down, 
And the wind stops blowing ships landward, 
And the goats give up looking for Jerusalem.