Robert Bly's poem The Blind Old Man is a finger print on a glass of one of the best philosophical poets in the world. Before we take a closer look, I hope you explore his site and his works, they have a way of making any person more appreciative for gift of living. The literary critic Charles Molesworth suggests that Bly "writes religious meditations for a public that is no longer ostensibly religious."
And that is the joy of this poem and almost all poems who set out to change the face of the earth: to make people believe in what is eternal. "Nor why the wind blows the curtains in the afternoon" is the line that jumps off the pages. Bly is a poet that has lived for over 80 years and yet only poetry allows him to be content with the unknown. Not only that, it allows him to become a child to the wonder of the questions that continue to evade human understanding. But the speaker is not in a hurry to understand, for he has found his place knowing what he will never understand, and that is the wisdom of age and time.
This a poem on death. This is a poem with death approaching and the speaker accepting his humanity. It screams that he is not God -- that he can not understand even the simpliest of nature's creatures or the doings of man like the grave digger. The question is not how do birds fly or men dig, but why do they do it? It is just the opposite tone of Emily Dickinson "I heard a fly buzz", and it has the opposite effect on the reader. It is a speaker who never took life for granted and stayed in the wonder of childhood throughout his life.
The speaker finds comfort in the pain and randonness of life. We will never know why a poet decides to speak but I am grateful because Bly speaks with the universal perspective of the uncertainty of life and the wonder and salvation it provides.