Prompt for RWJ, Prompt 294

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.


2 thoughts on “Prompt for RWJ, Prompt 294

  1. Old Wood

    I am the old wood
    receiving you as the rain
    in all its aspects,
    as mist, as the splash
    or the roar of a tempest,
    with the black of night
    or the sun peeking
    and the arc doubled sometimes,
    receiving your moods
    and the feel of you
    whether you are cold or warm
    and you strip me down.

    August 9, 2011 7:40 PM


    Somehow, I’ve lost my shadow,
    the gray fellow who stalked behind me
    like some dopplegӓnger without flesh
    or bone. Whatever thoughts mulled
    in my head were mine, actions too,
    and never did the shadow know
    what lurked in this man’s hearts or brain.

    He was there, the long and short of him,
    poured out by autumn sunlight
    against building walls,
    spastic on pavement walks,
    thin as a pauper’s dreams.
    He was there and now he’s not.

    When I turn around, I see clearly
    past moments racing towards the distance
    without first sifting through my shadow,
    and I miss him the same way I miss
    my old devil terrier barking at my heels
    and Baby Jake crawling behind me,
    laid low now beneath Vietnam soil,
    laid low like my shadow gone away.


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