RIP Robert Bly, who died 2 days ago.

I'm reading his book of poems Stealing Sugar from the Castle. I cannot understand the title of "Love Poem in Twos and Threes", does "in Twos and Threes" mean number of people or something else?

The poem goes:

Love Poem in Twos and Threes

What kind of people
Are these? Some stammer
Of land, some
Want nothing but light—
No house or land
Thrown away for a woman,
No ample recklessness.
How much I need
A woman’s soul, felt
In my own knees,
Shoulders and hands.
I was born sad!
I am a northern goat
Of winter light,
Up to my knees in snow.
Standing by you, I am
Glad as the clams
At high tide, eerily
Content as the amorous
Ocean owls.

I'm also confused about the meaning of "stammer / of land", does this mean some people stammer when they say the word "land"?

The words seems simple but the whole poem is difficult for me.

Please help me understand this poem, thanks!


"Twos and threes" means "groups of two and three", i.e., pairs and triplets. It could refer to groups of people or other things (lines in stanzas, etc.).

"Stammer of land" means to speak about land in a stammering manner.

I'm not sure whether you're a native English speaker, but if you have questions about meanings of words, you may want to consider asking the English Language Learners site. If you want more help understanding the poem's meaning, the Literature site may be more useful.

  • 1
    Thank you for the answer and advice, I'm an English learner from Shanghai. I'll try asking in the places you recommended, thanks!
    – Angela Hu
    Nov 25 at 0:52

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