my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Touch Me

Touch Me
Stanley Kunitz

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.

Elizabeth Lesser insists in her book Broken Open  that meditation is not an escape in which you visualize yourself in some beautiful setting. Instead, meditation is being fully present in the moment, being no one other than yourself wherever you are right now.  Kneeling in the dirt on a gray day, Kunitz recognizes in the crickets' song  his own  desire for love, universal and, as is demonstrated in his 100 years or living, timeless. What a powerful message.
"Touch Me "was the last of the poems he published in 2000. You must listen to him below.

1 comment:

marie-josé said...

Stanley Kunitz' "Touch Me" is like the cricket's song, isn't it? Falsely casual. Pretending to be melting in the air. Until Kunitz' own voice comes and pierces the atmosphere like the unexpected --but oh, so needed-- Romantic. The voice of an old man, and yet so perennial.

He certainly touched me.