Pilgrim Path

This blog is the work of a seeker and poet. Walking stick in hand, I head out into the world, not of the world, but in the world. My words and my friends carry me along and light the pilgrim path of spiritual journeys.

Monday, March 09, 2009


I revel the travels I make in the world of words. When asked why, in particular, I am so fond of poetry, I usually reply that it's the "economy of words" that draws me to that writing style. But there are other aspects of poetry that appeal to me.

Just this past weekend, I picked up a very slim paperback of writings by Robert Bly titled "A Little Book on the Human Shadow." Robert Bly first came to popular fame with his book, "Iron John," which launched what in common vernacular is known as the "men's movement." The general public (at least those who have heard of him) usually associate him with an exaggerated vision of men going off into the woods together, screaming primally, dancing naked and banging on drums. All in all, exactly the type of person with whom I long to be associated!

I had the distinct honor and pleasure of attending a reading by Robert Bly a few years ago at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Oak Park, IL that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Bly's reputation had preceded him and he didn't disappoint. This man does not suffer fools gladly. My Dominican friend, Brother Joe, had always entertained us with an impersonation of Robert Bly that was completely over-the-top and had us falling on the floor in laughter. The moment Robert Bly opened his mouth, I realized just how understated Brother Joe's impersonation really was. If it is possible to be a tender, wise, gruff, comical curmudgeon, than that person exists in Robert Bly.

In the Foreward of this recently purchased collection of Bly's writing, his editor, William Booth captures in a single paragraph the transformative nature of reading Robert Bly:

"What Robert Bly's poetry readings say in effect is, 'You must change your life.' To hear serious poems and resist all change is worse than a waste of time; it is dangerous. We can remember the warning from Jacob Boehme: 'Boehme has a note before one of his books in which he asks the reader not to go further and read the book unless he is willing to make practical changes as a result of the reading. Otherwise, Boehme says, the book will be bad for him..."

Think about it. Just sayin'.....

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Blogger John said...

Great words from Boehme...I need to pick up that book of Bly's, as I've always heard it was quite good.

Thanks for reminding us of one of the wise voices out there.

2:17 PM  

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