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This poem is taken from PN Review 132, Volume 26 Number 4, March - April 2000.

Seven Poems Robert Bly

The Alchemists

Men and women spend only a moment in Paradise.
A trap-door sends them down to the Lords of Misreason;
There kangaroos carry us off in their small pouches.

Let's all praise the saints who never mention God.
Why should the Leghorn family praise the Knife-Grinder?
I don't think it's right for water to assist the grindstone, either.

The walls of my poetry house are splashed with blood.
I don't want to be inward. Every day a thousand mice
Run out of my door heading for Tennyson's house.

Arabs with big eyes, having studied all night
For years, translated the Tablets of the Alchemists.
They could pull Mercury from the knees of the wind.

When Jabir was fourteen he could already arrange
The sounds so they became holy. Friends, each day
I crawl over and kiss some of my books.
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