A different poem for a contrast … a bit like an abstract compared to a landscape painting …
The Clear Air of October
I can see outside the gold wings without birds
flying around, and the wells of cold water
without water standing eighty feet up in the air,
I can feel the crickets’ singing carrying them into the sky.
I know these cold shadows are falling for hundreds of miles,
crossing lawns in tiny towns, and doors of Catholic churches;
I know the horse of darkness is riding fast to the east,
carrying a thin man with no coat.
and I know the sun is sinking down great stairs,
like an executioner with a great blade walking into a cellar,
and the gold animals, the lions, and the zebras, and the pheasants,
are waiting at the head of the stairs with robbers’ eyes.
Robert Bly (1926 –
A modern contemporary American poet with a liking for Minnesota and according to The Norton Anthology …
… his poetry can be thought of as mystical imagery and …
… Bly’s favourite source is the German mystic Jakob Boehme. The epigraph from Boehme at beginning of Bly’s second book … The Light around the Body … declares “for according to the outward man, we are in this world, and according to the inward man, we are in this world … since then we are generated out of both worlds, we speak in two languages, and we must be understood also by two languages.”
Perhaps he is using a second language in the above poem?
How does the title relate to the images created by the words?
Why do the animals have robbers’ eyes?
I think an answer to the last question provides the key to unlocking meaning behind the poem.