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Passions in Poetry

Remembering Stanley Kunitz 1905-2006

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wandering glider
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since 04-04-2001
Posts 504
aloft


0 posted 05-15-2006 06:01 PM       View Profile for wandering glider   Email wandering glider   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for wandering glider

We should all live so long and write so well . . .
I had hoped to meet him a couple of years ago when I was near his home, but he was not well.
Obit here:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-051506kunitz_lat,0,11 52442.story?coll=la-story-footer

I hope many of you know of Stanley Kunitz's work.
If not, he is well worth a read.

Here is a sample of his work:


Hornworm: Autumn Lamentation
  

Since that first morning when I crawled
into the world, a naked grubby thing,
and found the world unkind,
my dearest faith has been that this
is but a trial: I shall be changed.
In my imaginings I have already spent
my brooding winter underground,
unfolded silky powdered wings, and climbed
into the air, free as a puff of cloud
to sail over the steaming fields,
alighting anywhere I pleased,
thrusting into deep tubular flowers.

It is not so: there may be nectar
in those cups, but not for me.
All day, all night, I carry on my back
embedded in my flesh, two rows
of little white cocoons,
so neatly stacked
they look like eggs in a crate.
And I am eaten half away.

If I can gather strength enough
I'll try to burrow under a stone
and spin myself a purse
in which to sleep away the cold;
though when the sun kisses the earth
again, I know I won't be there.
Instead, out of my chrysalis
will break, like robbers from a tomb,
a swarm of parasitic flies,
leaving my wasted husk behind.

Sir, you with the red snippers
in your hand, hovering over me,
casting your shadow, I greet you,
whether you come as an angel of death
or of mercy. But tell me,
before you choose to slice me in two:
Who can understand the ways
of the Great Worm in the Sky?


Stanley Kunitz
Midnitesun
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Empyrean
since 05-18-2001
Posts 29020
Gaia


1 posted 05-15-2006 06:23 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

thank you, so much
for gliding by today
and sharing this amazing human
quote:


Sir, you with the red snippers
in your hand, hovering over me,
casting your shadow, I greet you,
whether you come as an angel of death
or of mercy. But tell me,
before you choose to slice me in two:
Who can understand the ways
of the Great Worm in the Sky?


That was nothing short
of brilliant.

And I love this part of the news story!
"Stanley has managed to do what many of us fear is impossible," Howe once wrote. "He is a poet and he is sane."
wandering glider
Senior Member
since 04-04-2001
Posts 504
aloft


2 posted 05-15-2006 06:48 PM       View Profile for wandering glider   Email wandering glider   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for wandering glider

I knew you would appreciate this, Kacy.

If only we could have spent a day with him in his garden . . .
Midnitesun
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Empyrean
since 05-18-2001
Posts 29020
Gaia


3 posted 05-15-2006 06:53 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

Well, I guess reading him will have to make do for both of us now. Thanks glider.
You made my day brighter just by sharing him.
doreen_peri
Unregistered


Gaia


4 posted 05-15-2006 10:40 PM       Edit/Delete Message     View IP for doreen_peri

I heard a show on NPR today about him which included some recordings of his recitations and an interview with a friend of his who is also a poet and was with him when he died. I'm sorry I didn't hear enough of the show to catch her name. Thank you for sharing this tribute and the text to this poem, wandering glider!

Martie
Moderator
Member Empyrean
since 09-21-1999
Posts 28608
California


5 posted 05-16-2006 07:08 PM       View Profile for Martie   Email Martie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Martie's Home Page   View IP for Martie

I heard that he died from the paper today....amazing how much time he spent on just one poem...sometimes years and years.  Thanks for this!
iliana
Member Patricius
since 12-05-2003
Posts 13488
USA


6 posted 05-16-2006 07:14 PM       View Profile for iliana   Email iliana   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for iliana

Thanks for sharing this.
 
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