Reading: Herons by Robert Bly

Robert Bly (b. 1926) was the child of Norwegian immigrants to the US. He is considered a nonacademic and very American poet (the plains of Minnesota…) He is also an important translator of Norwegian and Spanish poetry. One of his projects was writing a poem every morning and these Morning poems are considered to be among the best of his work. I read a short poem called ‘Herons’:


After trailing their bony legs the herons dance
in their crystal house far up near the clouds.
I need you in sand, touching your hand I weep.
In another world I am clear and transparant.

I like such short poems that say a lot in just a few lines. The herons’ world appears transparant, the birds have no secrets. What does “I need you in sand” mean? You should lie next to me in the sand while we are watching the birds, or you should turn into sand? And why do I weep, because I am not transparant enough? Do I want to dance with you like the herons, in a crystal world where we don’t have secrets for each other?


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