Poetry Friday: The Round by Stanley Kunitz

Poetry Friday is hosted by Katie at The Logonauts 

This has been a different kind of summer – a summer of giving myself over to the quiet beauty of the farm, where the sounds of birds calling to each other across the valley and corn rustling into its green growth is often all I hear all day.  This is by choice.

This has been a summer of also giving myself over to the life of being a reader and being a writer.  Not the “I’ll read a chapter or two when I find the time” kind of reading.  Not the “I’ll write a few lines when I can” kind of writing.  But an immersive reading and writing that is at the center of my day, every day.

Because, from September through June, I am immersed in the lives of fifty readers and writers – my days are all about their journeys.  This summer is all about mine.  And, in the serenity of the farm, the ever changing unchanging of  its everyday beauty, I am discovering again the glory of being lost in an exquisitely written book for hours upon end…the joy and discipline of the writing life.

Jane Kenyon, the poet of my heart and soul, advised this: “Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.”

So, that has been my summer work.  Unlike Stanley Kunitz, however, I don’t have quite enough discipline to find a cellar in which to hide from the view, which is after all, a rather fleeting summer view:



The Round
Stanley Kunitz

Light splashed this morning
on the shell-pink anemones
swaying on their tall stems;
down blue-spiked veronica
light flowed in rivulets
over the humps of the honeybees;
this morning I saw light kiss
the silk of the roses
in their second flowering,
my late bloomers
flushed with their brandy.
A curious gladness shook me.

So I have shut the doors of my house,
so I have trudged downstairs to my cell,
so I am sitting in semi-dark
hunched over my desk
with nothing for a view
to tempt me
but a bloated compost heap,
steamy old stinkpile,
under my window;
and I pick my notebook up
and I start to read aloud
the still-wet words I scribbled
on the blotted page:
“Light splashed . . .”

I can scarcely wait till tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.


13 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: The Round by Stanley Kunitz

  1. I remember Stephen King talking about something similar – he views writing as his job, so he takes it seriously, and dedicates eight hours a day to it. Now, I don’t think I could take that approach, especially in addition to another job, but it’s true that so often our creative lives get pushed aside by everything else, rather than given the space and time they deserve! So, kudos to you for making your life as a reader and writer a priority in your summer!

  2. So happy that you’ve been able to indulge your life as a reader and writer this summer. The school year is too crowded for an immersive life in your (our) own journey. Kudos to you for making time for you. And now, I’m back to Orphan Island. (recently highly recommended by you) before grandson Jack wakes up.

  3. I can almost feel this post slowing down its breathing, Tara. The naming of the flowers in this Kunitz poem is powerful. He reminds me, though, that there is no one way to be a writer. For him — smelly compost. For you, the quiet of the farm.

  4. It makes me smile to read of your time relished at the farm. I enjoy every picture you share, Tara. This Kunitz poem is lovely, though I’m not sure I could ascend to the cellar either. Thanks for sharing one new inspiration.

  5. Ah, a new life each day waits for you at the farm. I’m glad you are taking time for yourself, immersed in reading and writing. You deserve it.

  6. I can scarcely wait till tomorrow
    when a new life begins for me,
    as it does each day,

    Kunitz is telling us, “Hey, you get another chance today!” Good for you for taking on all the summer’s days!

  7. I am so happy for you, Tara, that you’re taking time to “be a good steward of your gifts.” (Which are considerable!) I love the flowing, splashing light in Kunitz’s poem and where his “curious gladness” takes him (and us)!

  8. We took almost exactly the same prescription for this summer! It’s been lovely. No cellar for me, either, though!!

  9. Hi Tara, an inspiring post for us aspiring wordsmiths. I aspire to find beauty beside the compost, tucked under the deck, hiding in the dark, dank corners of the garage. But it finds me willy-nilly in any old place. The supermarket. While sorting the socks of snarky teens. It won’t be confined to a cellar. I wish you a more fragrant location for your verses than the laundry room or the cellar.

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