Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Touch Me

Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that's late,
it is my song that's flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it's done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.

- Stanley Kunitz
who turns 100 this July


C. Dale said...

I still find this one of the most affecting poems of his. That last sentence just about does it every time. In some ways, I should dislike this poem, but I just cannot help liking it.

LKD said...

Oh, thanks for posting this, Peter. This is the very first poem I ever read or heard by Kunitz and it's still among my very favorites.

Peter said...

C Dale, Laurel: glad you liked it. It's one of my favorites, too. Esp. the line "Desire, desire, desire."