December 15, 2017

Stanley Kunitz's 'Touch Me' and Love in the Garden

Our December prompt on pilgrims and pilgrimages talked about my own short journey to the garden of Stanley Kunitz and I want to his final poem from his Collected Poems.

I was at the reading captured here on video at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival held at Waterloo Village in New Jersey. There was an electricity that ran through the audience as he read, and a standing ovation when he finished.

Touch Me” is a love poem that takes place in that garden. In his old age, as a storm approaches and he stakes his plants for protection, he ponders the seasons in a life. To his question“What makes the engine go?” he answers  “Desire, desire, desire.”

It is the last poem he published.

...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.

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