The Executive’s Death

By Robert Bly b. 1926 Robert Bly
Merchants have multiplied more than the stars of heaven.   
Half the population are like the long grasshoppers   
That sleep in the bushes in the cool of the day;
The sound of their wings is heard at noon, muffled, near the earth.
The crane handler dies; the taxi driver dies, slumped over   
In his taxi. Meanwhile high in the air an executive   
Walks on cool floors, and suddenly falls.
Dying, he dreams he is lost in a snowbound mountain   
On which he crashed, carried at night by great machines.   
As he lies on the wintry slope, cut off and dying,   
A pine stump talks to him of Goethe and Jesus.   
Commuters arrive in Hartford at dusk like moles   
Or hares flying from a fire behind them,
And the dusk in Hartford is full of their sighs.
Their trains come through the air like a dark music,
Like the sound of horns, the sound of thousands of small wings.

Robert Bly, "The Executive's Death" from The Light Around the Body, published by HarperCollins Publishers  Copyright © 1967 and renewed 1995 by Robert Bly.  Used by permission of Robert Bly.

Source: Selected Poems (HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 1986)

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Poet Robert Bly b. 1926

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Money & Economics, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Living, Death

 Robert  Bly


Since the 1960s, Robert Bly has written poetry that is nonacademic, based in the natural world, the visionary, and the realm of the irrational. As a poet, editor and translator, Bly has profoundly affected American verse, introducing many unknown European and South American poets to new readers. In addition to his poetic endeavors, he has gained attention for his theories on the roots of social problems, and his efforts to help . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Money & Economics, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Living, Death

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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