April 20, 2017 Eric Blauer

Mad as the Mist and Snow

Fathers and Sons…it’s a rich and complex topic that Robert Bly has written about in his books and he addresses it in a short chapter called ‘Approach to Wildness’ in the book: ‘The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: A Poetry Anthology By Robert Bly, James Hillman and Michael Meade. Below is a selection from the chapter and I have added two of the poems referenced in the selection. I think there’s a lot of meat on the bone worth chewing on and more in the marrow for those willing to gnaw deeper.
 
Approach to Wildness:
Boys feel wild;
they love their tree houses,
their wild spots in the woods,
they all want to go down to the river, with Huck,
away from the domesticating aunts.
 
Boys love to see some wildness in their fathers,
to see their fathers dancing or carrying on.
Some boys are so afraid that they will become domestic
that they become savage, not wild.
 
The marks of wildness are love of nature,
especially its silence,
a voice box free to say spontaneous things,
an exuberance,
a love of “the edge,”
the willingness to admit the “three strange angels”
that Lawrence speaks of.
 
Yeats realized searching Roman and Greek texts that even Cicero,
considered middle of the road,
was much wilder than many of his friends;
the wild man is not mad like a criminal
or mad like a psychotic,
but “mad as the mist and snow.”
 
How many years ago
Were you and I unlettered lads
Mad as the mist and snow?
(this is a selection from Yeats poem below)
 
 
Mad as the Mist and Snow
By William Butler Yeats:
 
Bolt and bar the shutter,
For the foul winds blow:
Our minds are at their best this night,
And I seem to know
That everything outside us is
Mad as the mist and snow.
 
Horace there by Homer stands,
Plato stands below,
And here is Tully’s open page.
How many years ago
Were you and I unlettered lads
Mad as the mist and snow?
 
You ask what makes me sigh, old friend,
What makes me shudder so?
I shudder and I sigh to think
That even Cicero
And many-minded Homer were
Mad as the mist and snow.
 
 
Song of a Man Who Has Come Through
D.H. Lawrence
Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me!
A fine wind is blowing the new direction of Time.
If only I let it bear me, carry me, if only it carry me!
If only I am sensitive, subtle, oh, delicate, a winged gift!
 
If only, most lovely of all, I yield myself and am borrowed
By the fine, fine wind that takes its course through the chaos of the world
Like a fine, an exquisite chisel, a wedge-blade inserted;
If only I am keen and hard like the sheer tip of a wedge
Driven by invisible blows,
The rock will split, we shall come at the wonder, we shall find the Hesperides.
Oh, for the wonder that bubbles into my soul,
I would be a good fountain, a good well-head,
Would blur no whisper, spoil no expression.
What is the knocking?
What is the knocking at the door in the night?
It is somebody wants to do us harm.
No, no, it is the three strange angels.
Admit them, admit them
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About the Author

Eric Blauer I am barbarian, sage, saint, bard, husband and father. Bow my knee to only One, serve all, ruled by none.

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