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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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OUR NATIONAL TREASURE
ROBERT BLY

 

 

Waking Up



When he wakes, a man is like the Earth
Rolling over, as it rolls at dawn, turning
Jagged mountains gradually and grasslands
Up to the fierce light of space.

Someone in me remembered all night
To breathe on as I slept.
The breath protected me the way the atmosphere
Around the Earth protects the Earth.

When I was a small boy I like to think
I thought once it would be best to die.
That would make everything better
For others, and knives flew around the house.

At dawn I resemble a soldier who wakes after a battle,
His friends all dead, and himself still alive.
What do I do?  I walk through the ditch grass,
Skirting the towns, asking in barns for fresh milk.

 

—Robert Bly

 

 

Reprinted with Robert Bly’s permission, from his new book, Like The New Moon I Will Live My Life, White Pine Press Distinguished Poets Series, 2015.