Call and Answer

Robert Bly

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.

Have we agreed to so many wars that we can’t Escape from silence? If we don’t lift our voices, we allow Others (who are ourselves) to rob the house.

How come we’ve listened to the great criers – Neruda, Akhmatova, Thoreau, Frederick Douglass – and now We’re silent as sparrows in the little bushes?

Some masters say our life lasts only seven days. Where are we in the week? Is it Thursday yet? Hurry, cry now! Soon Sunday night will come.