What Writing Is

Right from the track one felt
reasonably adept to write,
back up what’s to be said.
But language unfurled in one’s
mind then clumped up–so ugh.

Channeling a Robert Bly poem,
I transcribed words; they become
ghostly limbs. Meanings clambered
out as some newly formed,
inalienable fey creature.

Petering out, boy they’re hollow.
Substantial? One would wrap their
lean bodies up in in heavy cloth,
till their souls flew; one saw
a sari flapping into wind.


I’m drawn to Robert Bly’s poems. They have a clean, meditative quality like a Chinese painting. Imagistic and anti-intellectual, spiritual but not religious.
Do you gravitate toward this kind of style? Write a poem that’s inspired by a Robert Bly poem. Here’s one, which to me reads like “What Solitude Is”.

Winter Privacy Poems

About four, a few flakes.
I empty the teapot out in the snow,
Feeling shoots of joy in the new cold.
By nightfall, wind,
The curtains on the south sway softly.

My shack has two rooms; I use one.
The lamplight falls on my chair and table,
And I fly into one of my own poems –
I can’t tell you where –
As if I appeared where I am now,
In a wet field, snow falling.

More of the fathers are dying each day.
It is time for the sons.
Bits of darkness are gathering around them.
The darkness appears as flakes of light.

IV On Meditation
There is a solitude like black mud!
Sitting in this darkness singing,
I can’t tell if this joy
Is from the body, or the soul, or a third place!

V Listening to Bach
Inside this music there is someone
Who is not well described by the names
Of Jesus, or Jehovah, or the Lord of Hosts!

When I woke, a new snow had fallen.
I am alone, yet someone else is with me,
Drinking coffee, looking out at the snow.

Hear Robert Bly reading it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s