Robert Bly’s “Old Boards”

Talk About Poetry discussion of Robert Bly’s Old Boards, from Silence in the Snowy Fields.  The podcast is here:  Robert Bly’s Old Boards.

Participants are: Phil Memmer, Executive Director of the Syracuse YMCA Downtown Writer’s Center (DWC); Georgia Popoff, a Community Poet in Syracuse and teacher at the DWC, Stephen Kuusisto, Director of the Syracuse University Honors Program / Professor of Disability Studies for the Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies in the School of Education, and me, Bob  Herz, founder & editor of Nine Mile Magazine, and publisher-editor of the W.D. Hoffstadt & Sons press.

All three of my colleagues are distinguished poets and writers and teachers.  More important, they care deeply about poetry, its making, and the ways in which we discuss poetry and apply it to our lives.

This is the first of our Talking About Poetry series.  Hope you enjoy.

And here’s the poem —

Old Boards

I love to see boards lying on the ground in early spring:
The ground beneath them is wet, and muddy—
Perhaps covered with chicken tracks—
And they are dry and eternal.

This is the wood one sees on the decks of ocean ships,
Wood that carries us far from land,
With a dryness of something used for simple tasks,
Like a horse’s tail.

This wood is like a man who has a simple life,
Living through the spring and winter on the ship of his own desire.
He sits on dry wood surrounded by half-melted snow
As the rooster walks away springily over the dampened hay.

Excerpt From: Robert Bly. “Stealing Sugar from the Castle: Selected and New Poems, 1950–2013.” iBooks.

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