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The Light Around The Body

PDF I read the title of the book and anticipated something completely different than I encountered. I guess I was hoping for something spiritually uplifting, but Bly's The Light Around The Body is more "dark night of the soul."

The poetry is dark and violent - reflective, I suppose, of the times (mid to late sixties - Vietnam war, Bay of Pigs, Kennedy, Cold War, etc.)

Bly's collection is broken into five parts, and each part begins with a quotation from Jakob Boehme, a German Christian mystic and theologian who lived during the late sixteenth/early seventeenth century. (Interestingly, I liked these quotes better than the poems, especially this one that kicks off the book: "For according to the outward man, we are in this world, and according to the inward man, we are in the inward world ... Since then we are generated out of both worlds, we speak in two languages, and we must be understood also by two languages.")

Here is the poem that resonated the most with me:

The Busy Man Speaks

Not to the mother of solitude will I give myself
Away, not to the mother of love, nor to the mother of conversa
Nor to the mother of art, nor the mother
Of tears, nor the mother of the ocean;
Not to the mother of sorrow, nor the mother
Of the downcast face, nor the mother of the suffering of death;
Not to the mother of the night full of crickets;
Not the mother of the open fields, nor the mother of Christ.

But I will give myself to the father of righteousness, the father
Of cheerfulness, who is also the father of rocks,
Who is also the father of perfect gestures;
From the Chase National Bank
An arm of flame has come, and I am drawn
To the desert, to the parched places, to the landscape of zeroes;
And I shall give myself away to the father of righteousness,
The stones of cheerfulness, the steel of money, the father of

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