I am not a poet - that is painfully obvious. The following poem is a sort of tribute to Kunitz's "The Unquiet Ones"; in it I tried to capture

1) the shorter lines characteristic of Kunitz's later works,

2) The "natural" rhythms that Kunitz experimented with,

3) the ideas of Life and Death and the haunting presence of childhood memories, which are present in much of his poetry (though, admittedly, I use these ideas to a slightly different purpose)


4) the idea of multiple selves - roughly inspired by the images of masks that he often mentions in his work (and, in this particular poem, the "two-faced god" - the god of Time).


“The Unquiet Ones” – Stanley Kunitz


Years ago I lost

both my parents’ addresses.

Father and mother lie

in their neglected cribs,

obscure as moles,

I do not need to summon them.

When I put out the light

I hear them stir, dissatisfied,

 in their separate places,

in death as in life

remote from each other,

having no conversation

except in the common ground

of their son’s mind.

They slip through narrow crevices

and, suddenly blown tall,

glide into my cave of phantoms,

unwelcome guests, but not

unloved, dark emissaries

of the two-faced god.


The Tapestry (an Imitation Poem) –  


Memory hangs heavy

in silent, hidden recesses:

Death and misfortune bound

to Life and childhood innocence,

embroidered with the names

of the unforgotten dead.

I do not wish to see it.

If I could lock the door, I’d bury it

in rooms within rooms;

let it gather dust and fade,

or else unravel,

string by string,

until it has no more design

than the chaos from which it came.

But I cannot escape it.

It shudders and raps

against my present mind,

demanding recognition;

warring for the upper hand,

until one Self lays down arms.