nablopomo day 8: of layers and scattered tribes

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I'm not particularly a fan of poetry. 


Apparently, this statement offended my sweet friend Alice to the core.  Adamant that my ignorance must not persist, she has since been sending me poetry every few days or so, in the hopes that she will help me find enlightenment.

I'm happy to report that it seems to be working.

Yesterday, she sent me the following beautiful work, and it moved me so much, I thought I'd share it with you.  Enjoy.


The Layers
 by Stanley Kunitz

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
"Live in the layers,
not on the litter."
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes. 


(Thank you so much, Alice.)


Image:  Morning flowers and a dark chocolate cakeball, photographed yesterday with my Nikon D300, 50mm lens.  aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/320, ISO 250


Song: Past in present by Feist