Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Stanley Kunitz is my hero
There's a quote I've loved for many years now and it's never far from my mind:'
"The hard, inescapable phenomenon to be faced is that we are living and dying at once. My commitment is to report that dialogue."
It's a quote by Stanley Kunitz, a well respected poet and better yet, an amazing gardener. I have been wanting to buy a book of poetry for some time. I broke down the other night and started researching which book of poetry I might like. The best discovery was a book of conversations with him about his garden, his life and poetry from the years 2002 through 2004. I was SO excited and ordered it immediately.
Well, it hasn't been disappointing. It was money well spent. He died in 2006 at the age of 100 and I can't help but feel the world is a little less bright because someone like him is gone.
Poems with words like "At my touch the wild braid of creation trembles." and
"What makes the engine go? Desire, desire, desire. The longing for the dance stirs in the buried life."
That first quote is something I've related to so deeply in my desire to document life itself. Photos and words are my method most of the time, art at other times. I understand his need to embrace the living and dying all at once. It's beautiful.
This also explains that desire to document, regurgitate, remember and extract:
"The creative gift has very complex origins; you're accumulating and digesting experience, trying to discover it's meanings, instead of stuffing it into a closet and moving on to whatever happens to you next."
Yes and yes.
He even waxes poetic about compost and "the positive concept of waste and death. The contribution that mortality makes to civilization is the equivalent of what composting contributes to a garden. We are all candidates for composting. So we cannot approach the compost heap without a feeling of connection."
I was trying to grasp my inner urge to document the other night, before the book arrived and found myself writing a brief essay about my thoughts on the matter. Towards the end a poem began forming in my head. It seems to reveal my deepest desire in this documentation-of-life process....to somehow "freeze" the moments. Thank you Stanley Kunitz for your words and inspiration, for your garden and your insight. This one's for you:
Pause for this moment
If I can hold existence
It need not slip
Be still life
Let me dance
Kiss your cheek
Never to change
or grow older because
Eternity in my