Do you laugh or cry when you hear the poet sing?
“Out of the first warmth of the spring, and out
Of the shine of the hemlocks. . .” It is the hemlocks, then,
That sway in the graveyard above the grass
That encouraged us in our affair with the world.
We have secret meetings with moss at night.
When the night-singer sang, did you notice the mice
Going by? Their tracks resemble the stars that set.
Haven’t you heard the grunting of the hollyhocks,
Bringing forth their hairy life by the widow’s door?
Gravestones wind up the stray bits of wool
That would otherwise be blowing loose in the fields.
You and I have been in love with the moon rising
For a long time; I have been since I was ten,
The day my mother took my hand in the spring field.
That was the day we heard the cry of the hemlocks.
We became lovers then; and our road was decided.
We laughed and cried over the warmth of the spring.
Robert Bly is the author of numerous books of poetry, nonfiction, and translation. A collection of his new and selected prose poems, Reaching Out to the World, was published in 2009 by White Pine Press. He is widely attributed with sparking the Mythopoetic Men’s Movement in America. (updated 6/2010)