Original poem reprinted online here: "Farm Scenes" by Robert Bly
Originally read: January 28, 2013
More information about the Poet: Robert Bly
I never wrote about sequence poems versus stanza break poems. I believe that sequence poems take the white space as semi-colons. That each piece, no matter how separate the content may be, are connected to each other somehow or someway; meanwhile, stanza break poems could shift topics and correlate to the stanza before or branch off into something entirely different. Of course, I may be wrong with my assumptions.
So for Bly, I remember most of the work had a Jungian influence (Deep Imagism), so the most important parts to look out for is the usage of light and darkness (or how one turns to the shadow [or the Orpheus complex]). Anyway, away from the jarganism.
In the first stanza, there's a specific visual scenery of "Everything is white." That all the connotations of the color is there, but it's butted up against the. "dark lumps of hay," which is pushed away. So, visually, there's a focus on a speck of something there that is trying to be pushed away.
In the second stanza, there is the introduction of the speaker and another with "we." Who the speaker is talking to is not mentioned in the poem. However, my guess is to the other side of the speaker, the "dark lumps of hay" pushed away.
Note the importance of time here. It's midnight when everything is dark. And so the simile in the poem makes sense in a visual way that the lamp is the only source of light in the darkness, but this image is layered with the fact that the light is illuminating over darkened snow which is only darkened because the lack of light. Yeah, the previous stanza doesn't make sense. So the best way I could describe this is as a photo negative.
Well, I wrote this down for the poem, "not really a simile about the scene, but a reference to the self, or both" -- the image cuts a lot of different ways.
In the third stanza, there's talk again about the shadow overtaking the domestic; furthermore, the horse that pushed away the dark lumps of hay has "one or two / strands of hay hang from the horse's jaw." Past me wrote, "The horse has eaten the last of the 'dark lumps of hay.' This feels like the start of something -- an intake of loneliness -- things to come." What I see now is acceptance out of necessity. The horse had to accept the dark hay due to hunger. The speaker has to accept his loneliness because he has to. Why he has to? I'm not to sure. Maybe it's nature.