‘merican Mystics: Robert Bly (b. 1926)

[A simple definition of a mystic is one who seeks to experience God or the Transcendent.  Many of the greatest mystics have shared some of those experiences through poetry.  This is one a series of posts to share a spiritual poem and several quotations that have to do with some of the great themes of mystical writers and saints.   Robert Bly and Maya Angelou are just two of what I call ‘merican Mystics.  “Why We Don’t Die” illustrates the idea of the soul’s longing to return to God.  Your suggestions about other ‘merican Mystics are most welcome.]


Why we don’t die

In late September many voices
Tell you you will die.
That leaf says it. That coolness.
All of them are right.

Our many souls- what
Can they do about it?
Nothing. They’re already
Part of the invisible.

Our souls have been
Longing to go home
Anyway. “It’s late,” they say.
“Lock the door, let’s go.”

The body doesn’t agree. It says,
“We buried a little iron
Ball under that tree.
Let’s go get it.”

[Eating The Honey of Words. New and Selected Poems by Robert Bly]


By the time a man is 35 he knows that
the images of the right man, the tough man, the true man
which he received in high school do not work in life.

I know a lot of men who are healthier at age fifty
than they have ever been before, because a lot of their fear is gone

Don’t go outside your house to see flowers.
My friend, don’t bother with that excursion.
Inside your body there are flowers.
One flower has a thousand petals.
That will do for a place to sit.
Sitting there you will have a glimpse of beauty
inside the body and out of it, before gardens and after gardens.

The candle is not lit To give light, but to testify to the night.

It’s all right if you grow your wings on the way down.

[PICTURE: http://bashosroad.outlawpoetry.com/robert-bly-four-small-poems-by-robert-bly-a-note-on-don-olsen/robert-bly/haiku/]

[BOOKS: http://www.amazon.com/Robert-Bly/e/B00456BU6S/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1328148807&sr=1-2]


About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
This entry was posted in Quotations, Songs and Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to ‘merican Mystics: Robert Bly (b. 1926)

  1. sharonandsal says:

    Great one!

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