The Pharaoh's wives touch the mud with
You and I float in Moses' cradle. Dear friends, you and I
Are parted by a thin skin from the ignorance of the Nile.
Ghosts compose themselves from ground
Friends, our souls are moist. "Dry souls are best,"
Plotinus said, but he was nursing at eleven.
Some children hear the thin words the
Men piece out secrets hidden in prime numbers.
Women report what Eternity has told them to say.
Our cradle, like Moses', is porous
to the Nile.
You and I will never have one whole day of light.
At three o'clock, a wall will creak, or a hare will die.
Beauty has reached us drenched in birth
As our eyes open, bright blood splashes on the floor.
The baby's descent gives us a taste for war.
Some souls remember well, climb so
They are remembered forever. But Macbeth fell
A thousand miles when the feathers touched his face.
Robert Bly's most recent
poetry publications are EATING THE HONEY OF WORDS: NEW AND SELECTED
POEMS (Harper Collins), THE LIGHTNING SHOULD HAVE FALLEN ON GHALIB:
SELECTED POEMS OF GHALIB (with Sunil Dutta), (Ecco Press), and
THE BEST AMERICAN POETRY 1999, ed. (Scribner)