“I Have Daughters and I Have 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.
Perhaps our life is made of struts
And paper, like those early
Wright Brothers planes. Neighbors
Run along holding the wingtips.
I’ve always loved Yeats’s fierceness
As he jumped into a poem,
And that lovely calm in my father’s
Hands as he buttoned his coat.
Robert Bly, The New Yorker, April 19, 2010
(Photo by Todd.)