The Fat Old Couple Whirling Around

By Robert Bly b. 1926 Robert Bly
The drum says that the night we die will be a long night.
It says the children have time to play. Tell the grownups
They can pull the curtains around the bed tonight.

The old man wants to know how the war ended.
The young girl wants her breasts to cause the sun to rise.
The thinker wants to keep misunderstanding alive.

It’s all right if the earthly monk is buried near the altar.
It’s all right if the singer fails to turn up for her concert.
It’s good if the fat old couple keeps whirling around.

Let the parents sing over the cradle every night.
Let the pelicans go on living in their stickly nests.
Let the duck go on loving the mud around her feet.

It’s all right if the ant always remembers his way home.
It’s all right if Bach keeps reaching for the same note.
It’s all right if we knock the ladder away from the house.

Even if you are a puritan it would be all right
If you join the lovers in their ruined house tonight.
It’s good if you become a soul and then disappear.

Robert Bly, "The Fat Old Couple Whirling Around" from My Sentence was a Thousand Years of Joy. Copyright © 2005 by Robert Bly.  Reprinted by permission of Robert Bly.

Source: My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy (HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 2005)

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Poet Robert Bly b. 1926

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects War & Conflict, Social Commentaries

 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 War & Conflict, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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