Monday, October 23, 2006

An Insomnia Report contest: find the fake Robert Bly!

Okay. Here's the deal: as a follow-up to my earlier attack on quasi-talent Robert Bly and his big payday, I have decided to throw a contest. What follows are six snippets of poetry. Four are legitimate Bly pieces. Two have been have written by me, a man with no discernable poetic gifts. Try and guess which ones are which and place your answers in the comments. If you're right, you win. What do you win? Well, you win the right to call yourself a winner, which ought to be prize enough for anyone, I should think.

Anyway, here goes:

1) Tell me why it is we don’t lift our voices these days
And cry over what is happening. Have you noticed
The plans are made for Iraq and the ice cap is melting?

I say to myself: “Go on, cry. What’s the sense
Of being an adult and having no voice? Cry out!
See who will answer! This is Call and Answer!”

We will have to call especially loud to reach
Our angels, who are hard of hearing; they are hiding
In the jugs of silence filled during our wars.

2) Under the patio’s peat-colored lamps
We dance a close tarantelle
You wear that gingham dress I love
Just as you love my cheap flannel shirt
Against your cheek

Raw like the beard I could never grow
Your father’s beard, speckled with seeds
That blew across the mustard fields
On his everyday journeys back to you
From the cannery

Does my manhood fall shy of his relentless fidelity?
Can my body’s gifts ever balk in you
His dignity, his battles, his poverty,
His gentle and inscrutable surcease?

3) Lo, did Ozymandias with grim hands
Raise forth a citadel in your warring
Minds, to fall victim to our age’s squalor?

The battle is join’d, the call is heard
Yet the ships list in the harbor
The generals, broken by television static

How fearful is your folly now!
Brave men, whisper me a ghazal
In Persia’s wisdom I now subsist!

4) Now we wake, and rise from bed, and eat breakfast!
Shouts rise from the harbor of the blood,
Mist, and masts rising, the knock of wooden tackle in the sunlight.

Now we sing, and do tiny dances on the kitchen floor.
Our whole body is like a harbor at dawn;
We know that our master has left us for the day.

5) The dying bull is bleeding on the mountain!
But inside the mountain, untouched
By the blood,
There are antlers, bits of oak bark,
Fire, herbs are thrown down.

6) I am still a mouse nibbling the chocolate of sadness.
I am an Albigensian reading Bulgarian script.
I am a boy walking across England by night.

Each time we fold in the fingers of our left hand
We bring our ancestors close to each other again,
So they can lie on top of each other in the bed at night.

Soon our grandfather and grandmother will kiss
Once more. Then death will come in his Jewish hat,
And tell Noah to start praising the rainy night.