Robert Bly
Tightening the Cinch

Hurry, for the horses are galloping along the road.

Our death is being saddled now.  They are tightening the cinch.

Just keep shouting, "My heart is never bitter!"


Come, only a moment is left, the sun is touching

The sea at Point Lobos; those waves that Jeffers knew

Will soon wear the Lincolnish coats of night!


You’ve waited so long for me.  And where was I?

Whatever pleases the greedy soul is like a drop

Of burning oil to the heart.  What shall we do?


While they saddle the horses, just keep shouting,

"My grief is a horse; I am the missing rider!"

The grief of absence is the only bread I eat.


Whatever pleases the heart is like a drop of burning

Oil to the greedy soul, which can’t bear one moment

When men and women are tender with each other.


You know the writer of this poem has a thin

Hold on the reins, and is about to fall off.

Hold on.  The horses are galloping toward the night.

Found In Volume 35, No. 03
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Robert Bly
About the Author

Robert Bly’s newest book is Talking Into the Ear of a Donkey (WW Norton & Co, 2011).