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The Trap-Door

by Robert Bly

Men and women spend only a moment in Paradise.
A trap-door sends them down to the Lords of Misreason;
And baby kangaroos carry us all off in their small pouches.

Let’s all praise the saints who never mention God.
Why should the Leghorn family praise the Knife-Grinder?
I don’t think it’s right for water to assist the grindstone, either.

The walls of my poetry house are splashed with blood.
I don’t want to be inward. Every day a thousand mice
Run out of my door heading for Tennyson’s house.

Arabs with big eyes studied all night for years
And translated the Tablets of the Alchemists.
They could pull Mercury from the knees of the wind.

Jabir the Brilliant at fourteen could arrange
Sounds so they became holy. Friends, each day
I crawl over and kiss some of the books I love.

It is because the lovers have been exiled
To the non-existence of the onion fields
That the pauper wakes up playing the flute of gratitude.


Robert Bly’s latest book is Morning Poems (HarperCollins). He also co-edited, with David Lehman, The Best American Poetry 1999. (2000)


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