Robert Bly's new collection of poems, perhaps his best yet, keenly expresses the quiet troubles of age. The volume is presented as a companion to Bly's very first collection, Silence in the Snowy Fields, and is a sadder-but-wiser treatment of subjects familiar to his readers: the labors of farm life in Minnesota, the intricate arrivals and departures of seasons. Here we find ourselves most often in fall and winter, meditating on death: ""our children balance us/ on their shoulders, we balance their graves/ on ours. . . ."" The farmer-poet writes his verses as a sort of Yankee diary, but with an Oriental detachment and confidence in life-in-death, in the tree that ""will be here for a thousand years."" A rhetorical device Bly developed with his earlier translations of the poems of Kabir, that of ecstatic exclamation undercut by rueful irony, is used to good effect: ""Something is about to happen!/ Christ will return!/ But each fall it goes by without happening."" And his finest poems are remarkably vivid and touching. In ""Black Pony Eating Grass"" he tells us: ""In a few years we will die,/ yet the grass continues to lift itself into the horse's teeth,/ sharp harsh lines run through our bodies./ A star is also a stubborn man-/ the Great Bear is seven old men walking.