Robert Bly, 1926-2021

He died this week. The Minnesota Poet. The man that demonstrated his courage through his words, through a willingness to be different, through a willingness to stand both for what was true in his belly, and to stand against what made little sense in contemporary norms.

I find myself reading a little extra Bly this week (with thanks to my friend, Chris Smith for inviting this). “When Threshing Time Ends” was a poem that began with Bly’s memory of being a teen, working with the men of the farm and of neighboring farms. He described how this time with older men and with young men his age was so formative.

When Threshing Time Ends
Robert Bly

There is a time. Things end.
All the fields are clean.
Belts are put away.
And the horses go home.

What is left endures
In the minds of boys
Who wanted this joy
Never to end.

The splashing of hands,
Jokes and oats:
It was a music
Touching and fervent.

The Bible was right.
Presences come and go.
Wash in cold water.
The fire has moved.

I’m glad that Robert Bly lives just a little extra in me in this week of his passing. I’m glad for that extra bit of courage and determination that I can feel in me, from his words, to carry on with my poetry, writing and sharing. To feel the music in the field.

I’m glad that Robert Bly lives
just a little extra in me
in this week of his passing.

I’m glad for that extra bit of courage
and determination
that I can feel in me

from his words,
to carry on with my poetry,
writing and sharing.

To feel the music
in the field.

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