Robert Bly died this past year. I read his book “Iron John” in the mid 90s. It changed my life. Both from the standpoint of what a man could be and also with its mix of poetry, prose, spirituality and humor what a book could be. Robert Bly is one of Minnesota’s (and the country’s) most accomplished poets and writers. He also has a connection to Northfield. Here is one of his poems:
I Have Daughters and Sons
Who is out there at 6 a.m.? The man
Throwing newspapers onto the porch,
And the roaming souls suddenly
Drawn down into their sleeping bodies.
Wild words of Jacob Boehme
Go on praising the human body,
But heavy words of the ascetics
Sway in the fall gales.
Do I have a right to my poems?
To my jokes? To my loves?
Oh foolish man, knowing nothing—
Less than nothing—about desire.
I have daughters and I have sons.
When one of them lays a hand
On my shoulder, shining fish
Turn suddenly in the deep sea.
At this age, I especially love dawn
On the sea, stars above the trees,
Pages in “The Threefold Life,”
And the pale faces of baby mice.