Skip to main content
By Robert Bly

Inside the veins there are navies setting forth,

Tiny explosions at the waterlines,

And seagulls weaving in the wind of the salty blood.


It is the morning. The country has slept the whole winter.

Window seats were covered with fur skins, the yard was full

Of stiff dogs, and hands that clumsily held heavy books.


Now we wake, and rise from bed, and eat breakfast!

Shouts rise from the harbor of the blood,

Mist, and masts rising, the knock of wooden tackle in the sunlight.


Now we sing, and do tiny dances on the kitchen floor.

Our whole body is like a harbor at dawn;

We know that our master has left us for the day.


Robert Bly, “Waking from Sleep” 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)

Poet Bio

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.

More By This Poet

More Poems about Living

Browse poems about Living

More Poems about Nature

Browse poems about Nature