Thursday, October 29, 2015

Milk and Eggs

Today, I was backing up and transferring many generations of digital photos, and I found an old photo disk with these pictures on it. They were in a strange format, but I was glad to be able to convert them. I don't know if this is when my daughter still had her cow, Anna, or whether this is goat's milk. My grandson is 28 now, so this was more than 15 years ago.


God banish from your house
The fly, the roach, the mouse

That riots in the walls
Until the plaster falls;

Admonish from your door
The hypocrite and liar;

No shy, soft, tigrish fear
Permit upon your stair,

Nor agents of your doubt.
God drive them whistling out.

Let nothing touched with evil,
Let nothing that can shrivel

Heart's tenderest frond, intrude
Upon your still, deep blood.

Against the drip of night
God keep all windows tight,

Protect your mirrors from
Surprise, delirium,

Admit no trailing wind
Into your shuttered mind

To plume the lake of sleep
With dreams. If you must weep

God give you tears, but leave
You secrecy to grieve,

And islands for your pride,
And love to nest in your side.

God grant that, to the bone,
Yourself may be your own;

God grant that I may be
(My sweet) sweet company.

Stanley Kunitz       (1905-2006)

The Voice That Is Great Within Us; 
American Poetry of the Twentieth Century
edited by Hayden Carruth, Bantam, 1970, pages 259-260.

Stanley is of the generation of my parents, who were born in 1906 and 1907, but he lasted until the age of 100, which they did not. He taught many generations of young poets and also had an illustrious career creating reference books about Contemporary Authors. We used to just say, "Have you looked in Kunitz?" when I worked in the library.

This is a gentle poem in rhyming tetrameter couplets. Constructed, not a bit careless. I like to look up the poems I find and see who else has cited them. I was interested that when Garrison Keillor read this poem on the radio, he omitted the last four lines. (At least they are missing from the transcript.) It is a different poem when this is done.  I like it Garrison's way, not so obviously a love poem. Which way do you prefer?

These eggs were the only other picture on this disk. My daughter always
had chickens that laid green and brown eggs in addition to the classic white.
She is gradually retiring from chicken-keeping now, because the winters are 
so harsh, and chickens must be attended to every day. 
I think she said she is down to three chickens.

No comments:

Post a Comment