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  • Dr.Pragya Suman

Poem of the Week

March In Washington Against The Vietnam War

Robert Bly

November 27th 1965

Looking down, I see feet moving calmly, gaily,

almost as if separated from their bodies

But there is something moving in the dark just beyond

the edge of our eyes

A boat covered with machine guns moving downstream at night

No one can reach it--it is like the shadows

When the Puritans went out at dusk to kill turkeys

America explodes

On the ground, ragged metal riddles the underbrush

We do not respect ourself !

It is a ceremony of self-abasement,

Like a man in the Assyrian desert

Pounding ashes over this head…

We make war

Like a man anointing himself…


Robert Bly was an American poet, activist and leader of the mythopoetic men’s movement. He died this week on 21 November 2021. Bly is famous for his antiwar stance apart from his great skill as translator. He helped Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer by translating his poems and made him acquaintance in America. Transformer was a master of metaphors and his poetry resounds with rhythm. Keeping the essence and soul of poetry alive in translation seeked great skill which was fulfilled by Robert Bly. He was interested in eastern mythology and he translated many verses of the great Indian medieval mystic poet Kabir.

Like Vietnam he also opposed the American government during the Iraq war. A great humanitarian he was and he developed an everlasting friendship with another humanist poet Tomas Transtromer.

In this poem he was describing agony, self abasement he felt and marched for the sake of millions of Vietnamese.

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