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)