Please tell me why the lamb is in love with the wolf
And why the child's finger calls the hammer down
And why at dusk Alexander walks toward his enemies.
Tell me why the gazelle grazes so close to the lion
And why the rat makes up games on the snake's tail
And why the student bends his head when he's attacked.
One meadow in the redwoods can contain a thousand ferns.
By this we deduce we are living in the serpent's home.
Each curly fern is his tongue unfolding.
The poet makes a meadow from each leaf.
Each curve of language turns into a lamb's ear,
Because a genius is a child in the house of suffering.
None of us is free from a certain bend in the knee.
The caws from the oak-bound ravens in the trees
Around our house guide Alexander toward the night.
The old man's voice breaks as he sings at Easter.
In between the clapping, there's always a voice breaking.
Last night in Jerez some people lived, some people died.
Robert Bly is the author of many books, including Eating the Honey of Words: New and Selected Poems (1999).
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