The Clear Air of October – Robert Bly – Analysis

A different poem for a contrast … a bit like an abstract compared to a landscape painting …

The Clear Air of October

I can see outside the gold wings without birds
flying around, and the wells of cold water
without water standing eighty feet up in the air,
I can feel the crickets’ singing carrying them into the sky.

I know these cold shadows are falling for hundreds of miles,
crossing lawns in tiny towns, and doors of Catholic churches;
I know the horse of darkness is riding fast to the east,
carrying a thin man with no coat.

and I know the sun is sinking down great stairs,
like an executioner with a great blade walking into a cellar,
and the gold animals, the lions, and the zebras, and the pheasants,
are waiting at the head of the stairs with robbers’ eyes.

Robert Bly (1926 –

A modern contemporary American poet with a liking for Minnesota and according to The Norton Anthology …

… his poetry can be thought of as mystical imagery and …

… Bly’s favourite source is the German mystic Jakob Boehme. The epigraph from Boehme at beginning of Bly’s second book … The Light around the Body … declares “for according to the outward man, we are in this world, and according to the inward man, we are in this world … since then we are generated out of both worlds, we speak in two languages, and we must be understood also by two languages.”

Perhaps he is using a second language in the above poem?

How does the title relate to the images created by the words?

Why do the animals have robbers’ eyes?

I think an answer to the last question provides the key to unlocking meaning behind the poem.

Here is a link with more information on Robert Bly from Wikipedia 

Your word in my ear ...

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