The Bigness of Small Poems – # 7 in a Series – Robert Bly

American poet Robert Bly

American poet Robert Bly

Walking on the Shore in Late August

I look out over the muddy lake.
All at once I see a fin rise, what alertness!
All my brain power pours toward that spot on the water.
How we long for a bit of consciousness to appear above
              the water!

Now I notice what I have never noticed before,
Bending over graceful,
At the shoreline…

Mother take me deeper—
Take me on your fins down…

Robert Bly ( 1926 -) from Uncollected Poems in Like the New Moon, I Will Live My Life,
White Pine Press, 2015

The idea of the deep image and the power of the unconscious have been a key part of the poetics of Robert Bly for almost seventy years! I have written about Bly in previous posts (to read some of them click here, here and here) but as he approaches his ninetieth birthday in December I want to highlight him again through this small poem.

A new documentary film has been completed on Bly (for details click here) which I am looking forward to seeing! My dvd is on its way! And although Bly has slowed down a lot someone who saw him a few weeks ago told me: He’s creaky but still Robert.

Bly’s was the single influence that brought me back to poetry in my forties! I know through his crusty nature he has not endeared himself to “The Powers that Be” but his influence on poetry in the English-speaking world, I think, is beyond comparison. Is he worthy of the Nobel Prize for Literature. You bet!

If you haven’t read Bly lately please consider it. Take a ride down with him in his darker waters. Hang on but enjoy the ride!

I keep trying to swim in those dark waters:

Mother take me deeper—
Take me on your fins down…





  1. Liz
    Posted April 25, 2016 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    I’m enjoying these short poems. Another lovely post.

  2. Richard Osler
    Posted April 26, 2016 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    So great to hear from you. Thank you!

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