Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday poetry

Stanley Kunitz is one of my favorite poets. This one really hit home tonight.

The Layers

By Stanley Kunitz

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written,
I am not done with my changes.


Deanne said...

So glad I stopped by to read the rest of this poem. It really speaks to me. Thanks for sharing. ;)

Cheryl said...

Beautiful poem! I just wanted to stop by to say I nominated your blog for an Over the Top Award. (See my blog for details.) Thanks for inspiring me with "Wild and Precious) to put the first mark to blank paper! ~Cheryl

Silvia said...

I really enjoyed that poem. I'd never heard of Stanley Kunitz before.