The Wagon and the Cliff

Robert Bly

The pin fails, and the wagon goes over the cliff.
The doctor steps out a moment and the boy dies.
We might question Emerson about this moment.

Please don’t imagine that only people are greedy.
When a crow lifts off, its ungainly wings
Can carry a thousand Mandelas to the Island.

Hippolytus resisted women a little too much
And the Lady of the Sea decided against him.
His horses agreed to drag him along the stones.

The mourning doves singing from the fence posts
When I was a boy woke the whole countryside.
But a dove’s breastbone is a cathedral of desire.

Sometimes the saints make us seem better than we are.
Our ancestors, on their passport photos, knew
The sound of a bird being pushed out of its nest.

Some smoke of sadness blows off these poems
Because the writer has become accustomed to failure.
These poems are windows blown open by winter wind.

Work that appears on the KR web site is from The Kenyon Review and all applicable copyright restrictions apply.

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