Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Henry’s Elegy For Stanley Kunitz Dead At 100

July 29,1906-May 14,2006

I saw Stanley Kunitz in his garden,
he was growing rocks and birds,
he pulled a word out of a worm’s mouth.

He looked to be a thousand years old,
he resembled a hunchback
or Yoda or my abuela.

He’s in the garden digging up poetry
like potatoes, like carrots, like stones
warm to the touch,

the history of the 1920’s still boiling
in his hands, still unchewed in his mouth,
the surrealists roll around in his eyes,

Vachel Lindsay, Carl Sandburg,
Kenneth Rexroth, all walk
in and out of his garden.

The Confessional poets make their confessions
to him and pass on,
the language poets utter nonsense and disappear,

the New York School of Poets closes,
the San Francisco School of Poets closes,
but Stanley’s in his garden,

digging up poetry, planting poetry.
Stanley’s in the garden ravishing Eve
and Eve is ravishing him.


J.B. Rowell said...

Very, very nice work.

david raphael israel said...

mmm, lovely. What Henry is this? (Gould?)
I gained my appreciation for Stanley Kunitz through Tess Gallagher's admiration for him. It seems that's often how one expands the circle of one's likings: as a shared idea.
Attended a reading of his just once: on Van Ness Avenue (Herbst Theatre), in San Francisco, in the mid-1980s.....

He drifted in on dream, and drifts out the same.
Remembering him grips one like all get out.

RC said...

thanks j.b.and david r.i. actually,david Henry is Berryman's Henry although Henry Gould could probably pass for Berryman's Henry.Just kidding HG.

Christopher T. George said...

Hello RC

Thanks for posting this poem in celebration of the life of the great Mr Kunitz. He will be missed but his work will endure.