How This Wealth Came to Be
A Poem by Robert Bly
It’s hard to know how all this wealth came to be.
Ishmael was not created from a fight with a whale.
The ocean is not wild enough to have created Melville’s soul.
The hungry one in us did not come from seed.
Our old enemy is one of Adam’s grandfathers.
He stood around looking at the shadow of the first soul.
The Ark landed on Ararat; but all those
Who came off the Ark know that the voyage
Was not long enough to produce Abraham’s soul.
Oaks once darkened almost all of Great Britain,
Covering it with leaves. But squirrels rummaging
In a million acorns could not find Chaucer’s soul.
How many boulders had to be ground down
To produce one square inch of the Sahara!
Maybe the moon gave birth to Mandela’s soul.
There is a mystery about the birth of Jesus. All that
Snow that fell to earth Christmas Eve finally
Did shift for an instant the weight of Rome’s soul.
© 2001 Robert Bly from The Night Abraham Called to the Stars.