Well, he got 100 years on this spinning globe. Can't do much better than that.
He was also often discussed on these pages, the most memorable of which, at least to my mind:
Perhaps an appropriate poem to celebrate his passing:
The Long Boat
When his boat snapped loose
from its mooring, under
the screaking of the gulls,
he tried at first to wave
to his dear ones on shore,
but in the rolling fog
they had already lost their faces.
Too tired even to choose
between jumping and calling,
somehow he felt absolved and free
of his burdens, those mottoes
stamped on his name-tag:
conscience, ambition, and all
He was content to lie down
with the family ghosts
in the slop of his cradle,
buffeted by the storm,
To be rocked by the Infinite!
As if it didn't matter
which way was home;
as if he didn't know
he loved the earth so much
he wanted to stay forever.
I love his poem, "The Portrait" as well as several others.
by Stanley Kunitz
My mother never forgave my father
for killing himself,
especially at such an awkward time
and in a public park,
when I was waiting to be born.
She locked his name
in her deepest cabinet
and would not let him out,
though I could hear him thumping.
When I came down from the attic
with the pastel portrait in my hand
of a long-lipped stranger
with a brave moustache
and deep brown level eyes,
she ripped it into shreds
without a single word
and slapped me hard.
In my sixty-fourth year
I can feel my cheek
"My teachers were always saying things," Kunitz recalled in a 2000 interview with The Associated Press. "They said, 'Stanley, you're going to be a poet.' I was told that a dozen times. And so I began to believe it."
That is inspiration!
"I never think of myself as having outlived my useful existence," Kunitz told the Boston Globe in 2000, when he was 95. "I don't wake up as a nonagenarian. I wake up as a poet. I think that's a big difference."- Stanley Kunitz
We should all remember to wake up as poets.
“The War Against the Trees” (1958):
The man who sold his lawn to standard oil
Joked with his neighbors come to watch the show
While the bulldozers, drunk with gasoline,
Tested the virtue of the soil
Under a branchy sky
By overthrowing first the privet-row.
Forsythia-forays and hydrangea-raids
Were but preliminaries to a war
Against the great-grandfathers of the town,
So freshly lopped and maimed.
They struck and struck again,
And with each elm a century went down.
All day the hireling engines charged the trees,
Subverting them by hacking underground
In grub-dominions, where dark summer’s mole
Rampages through his halls,
Till a northern seizure shook
Those crowns, forcing the giants to their knees.
I saw the ghosts of children at their games
Racing beyond their childhood in the shade,
And while the green world turned its death-foxed page
And a red wagon wheeled,
I watched them disappear
Into the suburbs of their grievous age.
Ripped from the craters much too big for hearts
The club-roots bared their amputated coils,
Raw gorgons matted blind, whose pocks and scars
Cried Moon! on a corner lot
One witness-moment, caught
In the rear-view mirrors of the passing cars.
Is the knot a metaphor for something else? Or merely a knot, wot?
I’ve tried to seal it in,
That cross-grained knot
On the opposite wall,
Scored in the lintel of my door,
But it keeps bleeding through
Into the world we share.
Mornings when I wake,
Curled in my web,
I hear it come
With a rush of resin
Out of the trauma
Of its lopping-off.
Sticky with life,
Mad for the rain again,
It racks itself with shoots
That crackle overhead,
Dividing as they grow.
Let be! Let be!
I shake my wings and fly into its boughs.
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: May 13, 2005 05:44PM
I jump each time I hear that effing phone ring
cause anytime you'll drop that other shoe
cause everythings a metaphor for something
but nothing is analogous to you
could be a metaphor for an angry spider
Here is a great thing I found on the web today and it has taken up my whole afternoon. It is the Favorite Poem Project and you can see and hear Kunitz reading his favorite poem (Gerard Manley Hopkins "God's Gradeur") It is very interesting to watch. Click on the picture of him to get the movie going.
This is a poem about sexuality Hugh.
The knot is a metaphor for something trapped
that has the desire to be set free.
Oh, I see.......KNOT !