Monday, May 15, 2006

On last Friday's Summit--and the death of poet Stanley Kunitz

I want to say how much I enjoyed--and learned from--last Friday's Summit. Thanks to Suzanne Clark for organizing such a stimulating and thought-provoking event! Once I get a bit more caught up, I hope to post a few reflections.

For now, I want to acknowledge the death yesterday of Stanley Kunitz, who died at 100. I have loved Kunitz's work for quite a while. I'd like to share this poem that appears in his 2000 Collected Poems.

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
that caring.
He was content to lie down
with the family ghosts
in the slop of his cradle,
buffeted by the storm, endlessly drifting.
Peace! Peace!
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.

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