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.
From The Collected Poems by Stanley Kunitz (W. W. Norton, 2000). Copyright © 1978 by Stanley Kunitz. Used by permission of W. W. Norton. All rights reserved. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 29, 2014.
|Jul 28, 2014||Healthy Smiths||Jason Bredle|
|Jul 27, 2014||Diana of the Hunt||Forceythe Willson|
|Jul 26, 2014||Compensation||Paul Laurence Dunbar|
|Jul 25, 2014||How to Love||January Gill O'Neil|
|Jul 24, 2014||Forty-Seven Minutes||Nick Flynn|
|Jul 23, 2014||Epiphenomenon||Karen Skolfield|
|Jul 22, 2014||understory (week 35)||Craig Santos Perez|
|Jul 21, 2014||Q||Hannah Sanghee Park|
|Jul 20, 2014||The Answer||Sara Teasdale|
|Jul 19, 2014||Appellate Jurisdiction||Marianne Moore|