How to choose…Post Script

I received permission from Robert Bly’s wife Ruth to post the poems I had chosen for my book club, the ones Renee suggested we not post because of not having permission.  But with permission, she suggested I share them now.  So…here they are:

Or Robert’s The Dark Autumn Nights…?

Imagination is the door to the raven’s house, so we are

Already blessed! The one nail that fell from the shoe

Lit the way for Newton to get home from the Fair.

Last night I heard a thousand holy women

And a thousand holy men apologize at midnight

Because there was too much triumph in their voices.

Those lovers, skinny and badly dressed, hated

By parents, did the work; all through the Middle Ages,

It was the lovers who kept the door open to heaven.

Walking home, we become distracted whenever

We pass apple orchards. We are still eating fruit

Left on the ground the night Adam was born.

St. John of the Cross heard an Arab love poem

Through the bars and began his poem. In Nevada it was

Always the falling horse that discovered the mine.

Robert, you know well how much substance can be

Wasted by lovers, but I say, Blessings on those

Who go home through the dark autumn nights.


I love the tiny book, Four Ramages, with illustrations & graphics by Barbara LaRue King.

Grief lies close to the roots of laughter.

Both love the cabin open to the traveller,

the ocean apple wrapped in its own leaves.

How can I be close to you if I am not sad?

There is a gladness in the not-caring

of the bear’s cabin; and in the gravity

that makes the stone laugh down the mountain.

The animal pads where no one walks.

Meanwhile, I found my Yeats collection and further inspired by Barbara in Rivertown, I also found “Now We Are Six” by A A Milne…and decided to do “Down by the Sally Gardens” and “He Bids His Beloved Be At Peace” by Yeats; “Wheezles and Sneezles” by Milne. But I still love Bly’s poems…


PS…I just changed my mind again, well, added one (I hope), “King John Was Not A Good Man” by Milne because it is about Christmas.

Enough of my favorites, please share more of yours.

40 thoughts on “How to choose…Post Script”

    1. Ruth and I were very close friends when she and Robert lived in Moose Lake…I had her email address. And I am so glad I did because then we talked on the phone which we hadn’t done for too many years.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. When I was 16 I was already more romantic than Anne Shirley (heroine of Anne of Green Gables). Then I somehow got hold of a book that boosted the level of my romanticism.

    The Millbeck Hounds was written by Gordon Grand. A collection of short stories about genteel people hunting foxes on horseback, it was published in 1947. And that is all I know for sure about the author and the book. The stories were all about impossibly honorable gentleman hunters and their elegant, highly principled ladies.

    One story hit especially hard. All these gentlemen and lady hunters are chasing a fox when two riders, a young man and young woman, become separated. They ride slowly homeward through the dusk. The man begins to recite the opening lines of Robert Browning’s poem “Love Among the Ruins.” His perfect companion then recites the next verse. And so they go, alternating as they share one of the most romantic poems in the English language.

    I’ve never forgotten the moment I read that story. It flooded through my lovesick teenaged heart like everclear alcohol. I don’t know that I’ve ever outgrown the impact of that poem in that time and place.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The Train – A.A. Milne

    Let it rain, who cares?
    I’ve a train — upstairs,
    With a brake that I make from a string sorta thing —
    Which works — in jerks,
    ‘Cause it drops in the spring and it stops with the string,
    And the wheels all stick so quick that it feels
    Like a thing that I make with a brake, not string.
    Let it rain, — who cares?I’ve a train — upstairs,
    With a brake that I make from a string sorta thing —
    Which works — in jerks,
    ‘Cause it drops in the spring and it stops with the string,
    And that’s what I make when the day’s all wet,
    It’s a good sort of brake, but it hasn’t worked yet!

    There is a particularly charming song done by Michael Cooney to this poem, I have it on a tape, (it doesn’t seem to be on YouTube) and I probably heard it on TLGMS.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. Thanks for these two songs sung by Michael Cooney. He’s such a wonderful performer, has a repertoire of hundreds – if not thousands – of songs, most of which I’ve never heard anyone else do. Plays multiple instruments, too. Love, love, love him.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. The more it snows (Tiddely pom),
    The more it goes (Tiddely pom),

    The more it goes (Tiddely pom),

    On snowing.

    And nobody knows (Tiddely pom),

    How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),

    How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),

    Are growing.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Here’s one I like that is not a love poem. It is called The Cathedral Builders. Written by John Ormond.

    They climbed on sketchy ladders towards God,
    with winch and pulley hoisted hewn rock into heaven,
    inhabited the sky with hammers,
    defied gravity,
    deified stone,
    took up God’s house to meet him,
    and came down to their suppers
    and small beer,
    every night slept, lay with their smelly wives,
    quarrelled and cuffed the children,
    lied, spat, sang, were happy, or unhappy,
    and every day took to the ladders again,
    impeded the rights of way of another summer’s swallows,
    grew greyer, shakier,
    became less inclined to fix a neighbour’s roof of a fine evening,
    saw naves sprout arches, clerestories soar,
    cursed the loud fancy glaziers for their luck,
    somehow escaped the plague,
    got rheumatism,
    decided it was time to give it up,
    to leave the spire to others,
    stood in the crowd, well back from the vestments at the consecration,
    envied the fat bishop his warm boots,
    cocked a squint eye aloft,
    and said, ‘I bloody did that.’

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Too long to post but my essay interpretation of it earned me an A+ from the English Literature teacher. No one else did better than a B. There’s that and the Monty Python skit where John Cleese is vending an “Albatross! Albatross!”

    Liked by 5 people

  6. (will you teach a
    wretch to live
    straighter than a needle)
    (ask and
    and ask
    again and)ask a
    brittle little
    person fiddling
    (did you kiss
    a girl with nipples
    like pink thimbles)
    (ask and
    and ask
    ago and)ask a
    in the snow
    ; e. e. cummings

    my favorite poem is often the one in front of me

    look up mara adamitz scrupe

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Genealogy

    When Jona at sixty traveled
    to her father’s farm in Iceland,
    the relatives looked down
    at bony knuckles, veins
    popping up , said: “See!
    She has the Josephson hands
    even after a hundred years.”

    Nobody in Bill Holm’s house
    dared attack Franklin Roosevelt;
    when the Republican uncle poked
    fun at F.D.R, my father would bellow:
    “You crooked son of a bitch!”
    “See”, they said, “there it is:
    that insufferable Gislason arrogance.”

    Now, when I bellow at parties,
    or look down at my own hands;
    knuckles growing, veins
    rising as I age, I think:
    I’will be living with all
    these dead people inside me.
    How will I ever feed them?
    They taught me, dragging carcasses
    a thousand winters across
    the tundra inside their own bodies.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Mr. Tambourine Man

    Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me

    I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to

    Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me

    In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

    Though I know that evenin’s empire has returned into sand

    Vanished from my hand

    Left me blindly here to stand but still not sleeping

    My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet

    I have no one to meet

    And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming

    Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me

    I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to

    Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me

    In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

    Take me on a trip upon your magic swirlin’ ship

    My senses have been stripped, my hands can’t feel to grip

    My toes too numb to step

    Wait only for my boot heels to be wanderin’

    I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade

    Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way

    I promise to go under it

    Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me

    I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to

    Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me

    In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

    Though you might hear laughin’, spinnin’, swingin’ madly across the sun

    It’s not aimed at anyone, it’s just escapin’ on the run

    And but for the sky there are no fences facin’

    And if you hear vague traces of skippin’ reels of rhyme

    To your tambourine in time, it’s just a ragged clown behind

    I wouldn’t pay it any mind

    It’s just a shadow you’re seein’ that he’s chasing

    Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me

    I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to

    Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me

    In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

    Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind

    Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves

    The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach

    Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow

    Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free

    Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands

    With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves

    Let me forget about today until tomorrow

    Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me

    I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to

    Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me

    In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Carrie

    “There’s never an end to dust
    and dusting,” my aunt would say
    as her rag, like a thunderhead,
    scudded across the yellow oak
    of her little house. There she lived
    seventy years with a ball
    of compulsion closed in her fist,
    and an elbow that creaked and popped
    like a branch in a storm. Now dust
    is her hands and dust her heart.
    There’s never an end to it.

    Ted Kooser,
    from Sure Signs, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1980

    Liked by 3 people

  10. In Spring

    Your grasses up north are as blue as jade,
    Our mulberries here curve green-threaded branches;
    And at last you think of returning home,
    Now when my heart is almost broken..
    O breeze of the spring, since I dare not know you,
    Why part the silk curtains by my bed?

    Li Po

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Tulipomania

    The Dutch had never seen a flower
    with this intensity: the deep purple
    of Viceroys bewitching as black silk,

    the scarlet of Gouda that rustled like lust.
    They had never seen such vivid contrasts:
    the golds that threaded through the petals’ tapestry,

    the crimson that throbbed through cream like blood
    seeping through clean linen. And if they called
    a tulip like this “broken”, broken was what

    they wanted: they could not know the ones they craved
    were brilliant from infection with a virus,
    but must have seen these bulbs were weak and small

    and did not breed. Today the mosaic virus
    is gone, and tulips are no longer dear;
    the blooms that fed this fever have long died out.

    But aren’t you sorry you will never see
    a tulip that would make you offer all
    you own for the layered, translucent promise

    in its brown paper wrapper? Aren’t you sorry
    you never saw John Keats in his dressing gown,
    scribbling an ode beneath his flowering plum.

    Katrina Vandenberg

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Putting Away the Santas

    He has found one for her every summer,
    some in Christmas stores that keep things
    in a desperate sparkle all year long, some
    in antique shops, some at garage sales.
    He set them along the windowsills here
    in the house they bought and thought
    would be the first in a line leading to
    the perfect home. Now they can’t leave
    the creek that bend its way through
    the woods out back. The morning light
    slides through the jagged space
    between these handmade bedraggles
    in divinity. Their beards flow or scraggle
    down across their chests, unfurling
    from their rest-red-cheeks. Some raise
    their arms in unabashed glee. Others
    are weary, their eyes soft, their hands
    barely holding on to a bear or wreath.
    A few are tiny, a few are tall. One is
    straight as the back of a Swedish chair,
    a couple are full of gnarled Appalachian
    cuts and curves. One plays the accordion:
    one holds back seven dogs. Some look
    as if their sacks are full of sorrow.
    Their daughter made one from a
    toilet paper roll. he puts them out the day
    after Thanksgiving, welcomes each one
    back, asks how their sleep among
    the ornaments has gone, even thanks
    them for lasting one more year. Now
    he wraps them one by one in a paper towel,
    lays each back in its box. Come mid-July
    he will start the search again, hoping he can
    find any jolly lugger of unaccustomed joy.

    Jack Ridl

    Liked by 2 people

  13. The Kingdom of Summer

    In my mother’s cellar there were
    realms of golden apple, rooms
    of purple beet, hallways of green bean
    leading to windows of
    strawberry and grape.

    In her cellar there were
    cider seas and
    pumpkin shores,
    mountains of tomatoes –
    pickle trees.

    When I walked down the steps
    and pulled on the light,
    I saw where she kept the
    Kingdom of Summer.

    Joyce Sutphen

    Liked by 3 people

  14. This Advent
    By Michael Coffey

    You light candles and you wait,
    not like waiting at the bus stop
    with the rain soaking your day
    and the time passing like tree growth.

    You light candles and you wait,
    not like standing in line at the grocery store
    with your parsley dripping on your shoe
    and the woman in front of you
    wiring a check like a novel.

    You light candles
    as you sing songs of joy in minor keys,
    and you wait
    like a man sitting at the restaurant table
    with the calla lilies in his hand
    and the diamond ring inside
    the death-by-chocolate dessert,
    looking every direction every moment
    to see his beloved appear.
    You wait like this
    even without anyone coming
    to take your flowers,
    year after year
    war after war
    death after death,
    lighting candles one by one.

    Liked by 6 people

  15. Thinking about lighting candles tonight.

    When I got to work this morning I learned that one of my co-workers had a stroke yesterday. One of her neighbors found her in her car, slumped over the steering wheel. She is in intensive care and on a ventilator, with paralysis on her right side.

    I lit a candle on It is always difficult wishing there to be something you can do, and knowing there is really nothing you can do.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So, so sorry, Linda. Strokes are particularly difficult to deal with because you often don’t have any indication that something’s wrong until it happens. And, as you say, there’s really nothing you can do that will help.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. its hard to know what to say feel think do when the realities of yesterday are not the same today.
      its not the if onlies or the what ifs but the realization that the stuff that happens in life happens and there is nothing you can do to undo it.
      i used to think pets taught us to feel when they died and prepared you for the stuff that really matters. now i think that is the stuff that really matters
      i am so sorry that your friend has been so unexpectedly stricken
      i will light a candle too.

      Liked by 4 people

  16. ipoet Maya Angelou #2 on top 500 poets Poet’s PagePoemsQuotesCommentsStatsE-BooksBiographyVideos
    Poems by Maya Angelou : 26 / 53 « prev. poem next poem »
    Phenomenal Woman – Poem by Maya Angelou

    / 2:29

    Autoplay next video
    Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
    I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
    But when I start to tell them,
    They think I’m telling lies.
    I say,
    It’s in the reach of my arms
    The span of my hips,
    The stride of my step,
    The curl of my lips.
    I’m a woman
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    I walk into a room
    Just as cool as you please,
    And to a man,
    The fellows stand or
    Fall down on their knees.
    Then they swarm around me,
    A hive of honey bees.
    I say,
    It’s the fire in my eyes,
    And the flash of my teeth,
    The swing in my waist,
    And the joy in my feet.
    I’m a woman
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    Men themselves have wondered
    What they see in me.
    They try so much
    But they can’t touch
    My inner mystery.
    When I try to show them
    They say they still can’t see.
    I say,
    It’s in the arch of my back,
    The sun of my smile,
    The ride of my breasts,
    The grace of my style.
    I’m a woman

    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.

    Now you understand
    Just why my head’s not bowed.
    I don’t shout or jump about
    Or have to talk real loud.
    When you see me passing
    It ought to make you proud.
    I say,
    It’s in the click of my heels,
    The bend of my hair,
    the palm of my hand,
    The need of my care,
    ‘Cause I’m a woman
    Phenomenal woman,
    That’s me.
    Maya Angelou

    Liked by 4 people

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