By Robert Bly
I am driving; it is dusk; Minnesota.
The stubble field catches the last growth of sun.
The soybeans are breathing on all sides.
Old men are sitting before their houses on car seats
In the small towns. I am happy,
The moon rising above the turkey sheds.
The small world of the car
Plunges through the deep fields of the night,
On the road from Willmar to Milan.
This solitude covered with iron
Moves through the fields of night
Penetrated by the noise of crickets.
Nearly to Milan, suddenly a small bridge,
And water kneeling in the moonlight.
In small towns the houses are built right on the ground;
The lamplight falls on all fours on the grass.
When I reach the river, the full moon covers it.
A few people are talking, low, in a boat.
Robert Bly, “Driving toward the Lac Qui Parle River” from Silence in the Snowy Fields (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1962). Copyright © 1962 by Robert Bly. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Source: Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 1986)
Robert Bly was born in western Minnesota, and attended Harvard University and the University of Iowa. He is a prolific author who has published more than 30 books of poetry, edited a magazine to introduce foreign poets to an English audience, and given workshops on masculinity based on his book Iron John: A Book about Men, the founding text of the mythopoetic men's movement. In his early poems such as “Driving toward the Lac Qui Parle River” and “Waking from Sleep,” Bly uses descriptions of American geography to evoke a feeling of solitude and isolation and to reveal a consciousness merging those emotions with landscapes.
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