Summer 2000 • Vol. XXII No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 2000 |

The Wagon and the Cliff

The pin fails, and the wagon goes over the cliff. The doctor steps out a moment and the boy dies. We might question Emerson about this moment. Please don't imagine that only people are greedy. When a crow lifts off, its ungainly wings Can carry a thousand Mandelas to the Island. Hippolytus resisted women a little too much And the Lady of the Sea decided against him. His horses agreed to drag him along the stones. The mourning doves singing from the fence posts When I was a boy woke the whole countryside. But a dove's breastbone is a cathedral of desire. Sometimes the saints make us seem better than we are. Our ancestors, on their passport photos, knew The sound of a bird being pushed out of its nest. Some smoke of sadness blows off these poems Because the writer has become accustomed to failure. These poems are windows blown open by winter wind.

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Robert Bly is the author of many books of poetry and translation. His recent collection is Talking into the Ear of a Donkey (Norton). He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Ruth.

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