Mercury day poetry: Men, men, men, men

Today’s poetry pick is inspired by Tim Miller’s weekly blog post, in which he reflects on relationships:

The author’s main contention, based on 30 years experience as a marriage counselor, is that the vast majority of marital difficulties come about as a result of the husband’s self centeredness and immaturity, his arrogance and unwillingness to communicate, and his general lack of sensitivity in the whole sexual arena. He goes on to say that women are quite naturally much better at relationships and need to school their men in what they already know. A lot of this rings true, of course, still it seems to some degree that men are being asked to cut off their balls and hand them to their wives on a sling. I still believe the part of the male mystique that gives him a lot of his edginess and sex appeal is that primal quality just a couple of rungs above Neanderthal.

Tim goes on to chart the “hot bed of planetary activity” going on right now. So check him out for that. But I’ll admit I was distracted by the section I quote above. It got me to thinking about manly poets, and one of the most manly (so to speak) is Robert Bly. You know, the author of “Iron John: A Book About Men.” Now, don’t go thinking Bly is a favorite Confluence Countdown poet. He isn’t. But as a leader of the mythopoetic men’s movement, he’d probably agree with Tim’s assessment.

Here is his poem, “The Sympathies of the Long Married.”

Oh well, let’s go on eating the grains of eternity.

What do we care about improvements in travel?

Angels sometimes cross the river on old turtles.

Shall we worry about who gets left behind?

That one bird flying through the clouds is enough.

Your sweet face at the door of the house is enough.

The two farm horses stubbornly pull the wagon.

The mad crows carry away the tablecloth.

Most of the time, we live through the night.

Let’s not drive the wild angels from our door.

Maybe the mad fields of grain will move.

Maybe the troubled rocks will learn to walk.

It’s all right if we’re troubled by the night.

It’s all right if we can’t recall our own name.

It’s all right if this rough music keeps on playing.

I’ve given up worrying about men living alone.

I do worry about the couple who live next door.

Some words heard through the screen door are enough.

My other option, by the way, was the lyrics to the song “Men,” by Martin Mull:

Umm, Captain Klumpz….
Yes, Malarkey?
The men haven’t eaten in days, sir.
Yes Malarkey.
Captain, I don’t think you fully understand. I said the men have not eaten in days now.
I heard you, Malarkey, thank you.
Captain, you’ve gone quite mad. I’m telling you for the last time, the men have not eaten in days!
Well, force them! You’ve plenty of men, haven’t you?
Plenty, sir.
Plenty of what, sir?
Men, sir!
What?!
Men!
What?!
Men! Men! MEN! Men!

Men, Men, Men, Men
Men, Men, Men, Men
Men, Men, Men, Men
Men, Men, Men, Men

It’s great to be on a ship with men and sail across the sea-o,
We don’t know where we’ll land or when, but it’s great to be with men
It’s great to be with men

‘Cause men can sweat and men can stink and no one seems to care-o,
We’ll throw the dishes in the sink and clog the drain with hair-o,
(Clog the drain with hair-o)

Men, men, men.
It’s a ship all filled with men.
So batten down the ladies room, there’s no one here but men
Men, Men, Men, Men
Men, Men, Men, Men

There’s men above, there’s men below, there’s men down in the galley,
There’s Butch and Spike And Buzz and Biff
And one guy we call Sally
(And one guy we call Sally)

Men, men, men.
It’s a ship all filled with men.
You’ll never have to lift the seat, there’s no one here but men
Men, Men, Men, Men
Men, Men, Men, Men

We’re men and friends until the end and none of us are sissies,
At night we sleep in separate beds and blow each other kissies
(And blow each other kissies)

Men, men, men.
It’s a ship all filled with men.
So throw your rubbers overboard, there’s no one here but men
Ahhhhhhhhh, Mennnnn.

I’ll admit I like Mull’s take on things better.

Posted by Steve