My friend, this body offers to carry us for nothing - as the ocean carries logs.
So on some days the body wails with its great energy;
it smashes up the boulders,
lifting small crabs, that flow around the sides.

Someone knocks on the door.
We do not have time to dress.
He wants us to go with him through the blowing and rainy streets,
to the dark house.

We will go there, the body says,
and there find the father whom we have never met,
who wandered out in a snowstorm the night we were born,
and who then lost his memory,
and has lived since longing for his child,
whom he saw only once...
while he worked as a shoemaker,
as a cattle herder in Australia,
as a restaurant cook who painted at night.

When you light the lamp you will see him.
he sits there behind the door....
the eyebrows so heavy,
the forehead so light....
lonely in his whole body,
waiting for you.

I love this poem because something in it speaks to me of the loss of my own father, who separated from my mother when I was three, and never communicated with us again until I was in my early teens - by which time I had no knowledge that he'd existed.   And as far as my large maternal extended family behaved, he may as well not have existed.   The poem reminds me that he did care for me, although he allowed himself to miss out on my growing up; it reminds me that our contact was never physical after the initial separation, but only through old letters and articles in chess magazines about him, yet he had some substance in my mind once I knew he was.   It also gives me a way of grieving for all the fathering I never received, and the loss that he suffered in not having me as his child.  

This poem is presented in books as a prose poem; I've kept Bly's paragraph breaks, but in order to learn it I  wrote it out for myself with line breaks, as in 'usual' poems.

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