A Living Poem–a Tribute to Stanley Kunitz

Photo: sylverblaque.com

Photo: sylverblaque.com


A Living Poem
a Tribute to Stanley Kunitz

The height of the beauty of a bloom
is in its folded state…

…the roiling possibility
enclosed within the secret vault of self.

I like a garden that dances…

…variegated, like life,
the shadows and the play of light.

I’ve walked into the separate
wilderness of age…

…and there discovered
the wealth of moldering dreams—
the hopes, the losses,
fears unfounded, dispelled illusions.

My garden, my life, my poems—
a planned disorder…

…and I hold only truth
within these hands,
the loamy soil to which I shall return.

The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.

This poem is a reflection on the long, long life of poet Stanley Kunitz. I gleaned the lines in italics from the book “The Wild Braid, a Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden.”

Over at dVerse Poets’ Pub we are celebrating our 3rd Anniversary. Today we are asked to write a tribute or ode to a poet who has influenced our writing, our living.

The Silver Braid Stanley Kunitz and Genine Lentine

The Silver Braid
Stanley Kunitz and Genine

Written when the poet was in his 100’s between 2002-2004, the now deceased Kunitz sat down with Genine Lentine in his vast Connecticut garden to share how his love of gardening and poetry intersected and influenced one another. I strongly recommend this beautiful book of poetry, photography, conversation and reflection to all poets, especially those who share a love of nature and gardening. He is someone I wish I could have met.

Stanley Kunitz Archives

Stanley Kunitz Archives


21 thoughts on “A Living Poem–a Tribute to Stanley Kunitz

  1. A wonderful tribute which blends the lines together seamlessly.


  2. Bodhirose says:

    I like how you used his words as inspiration for yours, Victoria. I’m amazed that he was still writing in his 100s. Do not know this writer but thank you for the introduction. Happy anniversary, Victoria!


  3. Nara Malone says:

    Lovely tribute. A garden should dance.


  4. Oh Victoria – this is beautiful. This bit here really caught my heart:

    “…and I hold only truth
    within these hands,
    the loamy soil to which I shall return.

    The longing for the dance
    stirs in the buried life.”


  5. Linda says:

    Neat marriage of poetries. I also love the encouragement this gives to embrace life – whatever the season.


  6. Susan says:

    This is the bud and the opening, in one. I see your relationship with Kunitz!


  7. kelly says:

    fabulous… i only discovered him a few years ago and love his work. i really love what you did with this.


  8. kaykuala says:

    Lovely tribute Victoria! It’s a chic way of having both genius together in a poem! Great!



  9. Oh another lovely one and another poet to discover. Thank you !


  10. Does poetry inspire dance..or does..dance inspire poetry..those are questions for the narrow minded.. those who just do it..
    answer…;)it simply flows when they let it go…


  11. great tribute… gonna go look up some of his work!


  12. I think its a beautiful tribute Victoria to a man you obviously feel a great affinity for. Your words reflect your love of his words so very clearly.


  13. I loved this – poetry in conversation, in congruence, in sympathy as it were. Your work is always fine, intelligent, elegant. I have much admiration for you, my friend, both as a poet and a person. Your work warms me, receives me, embraces me and makes me feel a kinship to you. What could possibly be better than that?


  14. Grace says:

    Wow, what a lovely tribute to the poet ~ I love the weaving of his verses with yours Victoria ~ Thank you for your words ~


  15. claudia says:

    i too like a garden that dances… have never heard about him before but i love the expression on his face…a man with such eyes knows something about life…


  16. The poet as a gardener or the gardener a poet.. Really very well elaborated on his lines.


  17. MarinaSofia says:

    I have that book too and loved it. It probably inspired me more than any other to start writing poetry again after twenty plus years (sadly, it did not have an effect on my gardening’. So many outstanding quotes there about writing poetry as a way to reach out to others, ‘share one’s sense of being with others.’


  18. scillagrace says:

    Sounds like a marvelous life of beauty & growth!


  19. An excellent tribute, you brought him alive again.


  20. rmp says:

    this is absolutely stunning. you have weaved his and you words together seamlessly. a beautiful tribute.


  21. brian miller says:

    a cool blend of both of your words…i like how you take his words and draw them out…like that first bit, turning the bud in his verse inward…also the holding of truth within the hands….very nice…i am not sure i know him…will have to check him out some…


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