PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
Digital Access to PN Review
Access the latest issues, plus back issues of PN Review with Exact Editions For PN Review subscribers: access the PN Review digital archive via the Exact Editions app Exactly or the Exact Editions website, you will first need to know your PN Review ID number. read more
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Thomas Kinsella in conversation Jeffrey Wainwright comes to grips with St Chad Hsien Min Toh gives us a Korean perspective Iain Bamforth on Lou and Fritz: Sensible Shoes meets Starstruck Judith Bishop on Love and Self-Understanding in an Algorhythmic Age

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.
...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image