For My Son Noah Ten Years Old
Nigh and day arrive and day after day goes by
And what is old remains old and what is young remains young and grows old.
The lumber pile does not grow younger nor the two-by-fours lose their darkness
but the old tree goes on the barn stands without help so many years;
the advocate of darkness and night is not lost.
The horse steps up swings on one leg turns its body
the chicken flapping claws onto the roost its wings whelping and walloping
but what is primitive is not to be shot out into the night and the dark.
And slowly the kind man comes closer loses his rage sits down at table.
So I am proud only of those days that pass in undivided tenderness
when you sit drawing or making books stapled with messages to the world
or coloring a man with fire coming out of his hair.
Or we sit at a table with small tea carefully poured.
So we pass our time together calm and delighted.
In Rainy September
In rainy September when leaves grow down to the dark
I put my forehead down to the damp seaweed-smelling sand.
What can we do but choose? The only way for human beings
is to choose. The fern has no choice but to live;
for this crime it receives earth water and night.
we close the door. “I have no claim on you.”
Dusk comes. “The love I have had with you is enough.”
We know we could live apart from the flock.
The sheldrake floats apart from the flock.
The oaktree puts out leaves alone on the lonely hillside.
Men and women before us have accomplished this.
I would see you and you me once a year.
We would be two kernels and not be planted.
We stay in the room door closed lights out.
I weep with you without shame and without honor.
Wanting Sumptuous Heavens
No one grumbles among the oyster clans,
And lobsters play their bone guitars all summer.
Only we, with our opposable thumbs, want
Heaven to be, and God to come, again.
There is no end to our grumbling; we want
Comfortable earth and sumptuous Heaven.
But the heron standing on one leg in the bog
Drinks his dark rum all day, and is content.
Robert Bly (Madison, 23 december 1926)