July 15, 2013: I DREAMED THAT I WAS OLD (Stanley Kunitz)

Dear readers,

Don’t have a lot of time to expand on today’s poem, but for formality, well, it’s 3 ABAB quatrains, with a loose-limbed rhythm that seems to skip around among 4- to 6-beated lines. And there’s some nice internal rhyme. It’s by Stanley Kunitz (“inky zeal stunt”), who did die old, very old, but wrote this out of his younger self. I can’t quite figure out a date for it; it’s from a selected poems that was revised and re-published from about 1930 to 1978.

Later in his career Stanley Kunitz shifted away from formal verse–but hey, when you start publishing in the 1920s I guess you start with the classics, right? -ed.

I Dreamed That I Was Old

I dreamed that I was old: in stale declension

Fallen from my prime, when company

Was mine, cat-nimbleness, and green invention,

Before time took my leafy hours away.

My wisdom, ripe with body’s ruin, found

Itself tart recompense for what was lost

In false exchange: since wisdom in the ground

Has no apocalypse or pentecost.

I wept for my youth, sweet passionate young thought,

And cozy women dead that by my side

Once lay: I wept with bitter longing, not

Remembering how in my youth I cried.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s