A Poet's garden


The final parting glance of Provincetown is a glimpse of Stanly Kunitz's garden. In the window of a local bookstore, I noticed a book called The Wild Braid. I discoverd that it was the reflections of a hundred year old poet laureate, a Provincetown local and made a mental note to come back and get it. I asked the landlady of my vacation studio if she knew of this poet and where his house was. She didn't but said that she would find out for me. And she did, and so I set out to look for it, and found it almost hidden from view in the west end of town. Although still well tended, it was no longer by the hand of the poet who passed away in his hundredth year. I never returned to get the book as I received it as a gift from my landlady in appreciation for my patience with her having to do some maintenance work on my deck. A wonderful surprise and souvenir of my vacation.

The Snakes of September by Stanley Kunitz
All summer I heard them
rustling in the shrubbery,
outracing me from tier
to tier in my garden,
a whisper among the viburnums,
a signal flashed from the hedgerow,
a shadow pulsing
in the barberry thicket.
Now that the nights are chill
and the annuals spent,
I should have thought them gone,
in a torpor of blood
slipped to the nether world
before the sickle frost.
Not so. In the deceptive balm
of noon, as if defiant of the curse
that spoiled another garden,
these two appear on show
through a narrow slit
in the dense green brocade
of a north-country spruce,
dangling head-down, entwined
in a brazen love-knot.
I put out my hand and stroke
the fine, dry grit of their skins.
After all,
we are partners in this land,
co-signers of a covenant.
At my touch the wild
braid of creation
trembles.
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