An Old Tree Falls

For Robert Bly


He had gotten old
last time I saw him,
hair thinned white
and walked with a cane
though he still
had fire in his belly.
He’d lit that fire for many,
bringing wildness
and passion
to the frozen inmates
of boredom.
We won’t find
another like him
until we drop
into the dark pool
of reflection
and recover the face
lying trapped
in deep water.




photograph by Manyu Varma

















Reading of “An Old Tree Falls” with music composed by Turlough O’Caralan




16 Responses to “An Old Tree Falls”

  1. Beautiful tribute, Don…

  2. Sandy Brown Jensen says:

    The voice telling this elegy is right on the mark in rhythm and accent to my ear. The only word that didn’t hit my ear right was “boredom,” and I’d probably just cut the prepositional phrase “of boredom” altogether. But it might have more special meaning to men than to me–I’m never sure. But the old man himself is drawn as a powerful and profound archetype, like the Old Man of the Earth.
    That photograph is stunning.

  3. Eric says:

    Deeply felt! Thank you!

  4. Athena Coleman says:

    The honor in witnessing another’s life is an awesome undertaking. The heart of another is held safe when this is done. Beautiful tribute, Don.

  5. Eleanor Gill Milner says:

    A wonderful tribute to Robert Bly. He enriched us all with his wisdom.

  6. Keith says:

    So beautiful this acknowledgment of our dear friend and elder. Loved how you captured Robert’s longing people to reclaim their lives, wake up and fully live.
    And the ending is exquisite-
    “until we drop into the dark pool
    of reflection
    and recover the face
    lying trapped
    in deep water.”

    This recovery process is what he challenged the world to do — See Who You Are..
    Thank you Don

  7. David Banner says:

    Beautiful tribute to a fierce spirit we knew as Robert Bly.

  8. Veronica Lim says:

    “Open your eyes and ye shall see,” O frozen inmates of boredom, as you drop into the deep pool of reflection. I love your imagery here, Don.

  9. Doyle Banks says:

    Thanks for this beautiful homage to “the old tree”. Reading of his passing this past week, I was taken back to the many times I was privileged to drop into the dark pool with you and the other men who were willing to recover our true faces.

  10. Mike McCauley says:

    Beautiful tribute to a mentor. Whatever inspiration you received from Robert Bly has taken deep root in your poetry. Please keep going with this wonderful, creative work. Mike

  11. David Barnes says:

    “I say, praise to the first man who wrote down this joy clearly, for we cannot remain in love with what we cannot name.” RB

    Thank God for the way your poems name these essences of love, Don. Radiant face of me shines back from you.

    “We love this body as we love the day we first met the person who led us away from this world… as we love the human face, fresh after love-making,
    more full of joy than a wagonload of hay.” RB

  12. Maria Frid says:

    Thank you for honoring a giant of a man!

  13. Chris W Dalengas says:

    Don, Nicely done my friend. Careful thoughts and imagery.


    With the left side in paralysis and the brain-to-vocal cord nerve-nets severed – speechless and immobilized – but heart only felt a rise to the challenge so swift, mind had no time to ponder…
    …there was no time to play victim, no time for boredom – only the quest — This also, was Bly

  15. Pat Fitzsimmons says:

    Thank for honoring Roberts spirit and his willingness to pioneer the way into our essential darkness. He inspired me to find the way through my depression.

  16. Gary Courtland-Miles says:


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