Friday, September 18, 2009

Courting Forgetfulness

Courting Forgetfulness

It’s hard to know what sort of rough music;
Forgetfulness; Forgetting; Graves;
Gravediggers; Loss; School
It’s hard to know what sort of rough music

Could send our forgetfulness back
into the ground,

From which the gravediggers pulled it
years ago.

The first moment of the day we court

Even when we are fully awake,
a century can

Go by in the space of a single heartbeat.

The life we lose through forgetfulness

The earth that sticks to the sides
of plowshares

And the eggs the hen has abandoned
in the woods.

A thousand gifts were given to us
in the womb.

We lost hundreds during the forgetfulness
of birth,

And we lost the old heaven
on the first day of school.

Forgetfulness resembles the snow
that weighs down

The fir boughs; behind our house
you’ll find

A forest going on for hundreds of miles.

Robert, it’s to your credit that you

So many lines of Rilke, but the purpose
of forgetfulness

Is to remember the last time
we left this world.

Robert Bly

Posted over on The New Yorker

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