Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"I am not done with my changes."*

for the last few years i saw  
Outdoor Nation
the hat more than
floppy, white, omni-

no, not you floppy!
but yeah, white, though
more truly chesnut brown
like folks might pay
to have a tahoe
house blend

you're always at the end
of the world, a stance
that is not defiant
like i thought,
but ready,
like i (already)
and stiff legged
maybe, yes,
defiant: like i (already)

how i wish for the names
of every plant between
and the camera
lens, and loved
them as
do the earth
and all that dwells
therein, plus
the plant's

i wish
could kiss
the lips of every
god-crier, heaven's-coming
love-offering believer.
i wish
could slip them
sweet nectar from the end
of the honeysuckle's
string hid inside
the petals,

*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 campsites, 
over which the 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 the 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.

--Stanley Kunitz

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