ROBERT BLY "In his essay "The Dead World and the Live World" (1966), Robert Bly distinguishes between two kinds of poetic consciousness, that which brings "news of the human mind" (he would include the confessional poets in this category) and that which brings "news of the universe." The second kind of poetry requires that the poet go deeply inward, "far back into the brain," where he is likely to find what, in "The Work of James Wright" (1966), Bly calls "some bad news about himself, some anguish that discursive reasoning had for a long time protected him against" (66-67). Victoria Frenkel harris
THE BURIED TRAIN
Tell me about the train that people say got buried
By the avalanche--was it snow?--It was
In Colorado, and no one saw it happen.
There was smoke from the engine curling up
Lightly through fir tops, and the engine sounds.
There were all those people reading--some
From Thoreau, some from Henry Ward Beecher.
And the engineer smoking and putting his head out.
I wonder when that happened. Was it after
High School, or was it the year we were two?
We entered this narrow place, and we heard the sound
Above us--the train couldn't move fast enough.
It isn't clear what happened next. Are you and I
Still sitting there in the train, waiting for the lights
To go on? Or did the real train get really buried;
So at night a ghost train comes out and keeps going...
THE CAT IN THE KITCHEN
(For Donald Hall)
Have you heard about the boy who walked by
The black water? I won't say much more.
Let's wait a few years. It wanted to be entered.
Sometimes a man walks by a pond, and a hand
Reaches out and pulls him in.
There was no
Intention, exactly. The pond was lonely, or needed
Calcium, bones would do. What happened then?
It was a little like the night wind, which is soft,
And moves slowly, sighing like an old woman
In her kitchen late at night, moving pans
About, lighting a fire, making some food for the cat.