Monday, August 30, 2010

The Long Boat



The Long Boat


When his boat snapped loose

from its mooring, under

the screaking of the gulls,

he tried at first to wave

to his dear ones on shore,

but in the rolling fog

they had already lost their faces.

Too tired even to choose

between jumping and calling,

somehow he felt absolved and free

of his burdens, those mottoes

stamped on his name-tag:

conscience, ambition, and all

that caring.

He was content to lie down

with the family ghosts

in the slop of his cradle,

buffeted by the storm,

endlessly drifting.

Peace! Peace!

To be rocked by the Infinite!

As if it didn't matter

which way was home;

as if he didn't know

he loved the earth so much

he wanted to stay forever.

~Stanley Kunitz






(Digital art and photos by bz)




28 comments:

  1. wow... I wonder if he was capturing the feeling of our final detachment here on earth when we pass on... it felt that way for me..love this..
    marlene

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  2. oh that last one is marvelous...great affects...makes it look old...and nice verse...dont think i would mind that rocking...

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  3. The verses do remind me of someone leaving their place on earth. I pray that much peace is felt that you just "let go" and drift off :) Nice imagery.

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  4. Hi Bonnie

    echoes of Longer Boats at the shore by Cat Stevens...and Greek mythology...
    Happy days

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  5. Words are so powerful, and combined with your beautifully haunting photos I felt at peace, almost as if suspended in time...

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  6. Just WONDERFUL..beautiful- full! Thank you Bonnie!

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  7. A wonderful pairing of this photo and poetry. Beautifully done, as always.

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  8. Sometimes the language of poem can pin the reader to a wall like a butterfly specimen. That's what this poem does for me, particularly these words:

    ". . . somehow he felt absolved and free of his burdens, those mottoes stamped on his name-tag: conscience, ambition, and all that caring. He was content to lie down with the family of ghosts in the slop of his cradle, buffeted by the storm, endlessly drifting. Peace! Peace! To be rocked by the Infinite!"

    Mottoes stamped on our name-tags! How many hearts flutter in recognition of that hard-edged piece of reality?

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  9. there is something so sad about the words and the images, so melancholy.Am I reading this wrong? Is it me who imbues the words and pictures - not the first photo - with a kind of timeless, nebulous yearning?

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  10. Marlene: That's certainly a valid interpretation of this powerful poem.

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  11. Brian: He does make it sound tempting doesn't he?

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  12. Vicky: It would be comforting to think so.

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  13. I like the idea that the end is not to be feared but to be met with open wonder.

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  14. Delwyn: I will have to check that out - I like Cat Stevens, but don't recall the title. Perhaps when I hear the music it will strike a chord.

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  15. Turquoise: It touches me deeply too.

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  16. Gwynnie: He does make a seeming rupture end up seeming somehow peaceful, doesn't he. Thank you re digital art.

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  17. Linda Sue: You are most welcome.

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  18. George: Well my heart certainly does. He reaches in and awakens a universal experience of the weight of our conditionning, caring and conscience ... and the relief of release. Those are the lines that speak to me as well. I am also quickened by the last 3 lines.

    Thanks George for such beautifully expressed understanding and insights.

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  19. Friko: Well, I am a firm believer that we hear, feel, see what most deeply relates to our personal experience, in the works of others. That said, Kunitz reaches in and touches a universal chord ... and one way to name it would be 'a nebulous yearning'. My personal experience would interpret it as a yearning for even a momentary release from the weight of human responsibilities.

    Thank you for sharing how this poem affected you. Like George says, it 'pins me to the wall' every time I read it.

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  20. Hi Bonnie

    The album is called tea for the Tillerman - in mythology the Tillerman rows us across the river at death to wherever it is that we are going...in the Long Boats... Cat Steven's song is called the Longer Boats. I read that he says he wrote the song in the 60s about the threat of aliens arriving and also offered a warning about adopting the wisdom of those who claim the high moral ground... So he has referenced Greek mythology to his own ends...

    Happy days

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  21. Delwyn: How interesting. I wonder if Kunitz was referencing that mythology when he wrote the poem. Thanks for additional info!

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  22. Paul: That would be the ideal way to do it!

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  23. Very visual and actually, quite beautiful! Lovely photos!

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