I Dreamed That I Was Old

By Stanley Kunitz 1905–2006 Stanley Kunitz
I dreamed that I was old: in stale declension   
Fallen from my prime, when company
Was mine, cat-nimbleness, and green invention,   
Before time took my leafy hours away.

My wisdom, ripe with body’s ruin, found   
Itself tart recompense for what was lost
In false exchange: since wisdom in the ground   
Has no apocalypse or pentecost.

I wept for my youth, sweet passionate young thought,
And cozy women dead that by my side   
Once lay: I wept with bitter longing, not   
Remembering how in my youth I cried.

Stanley Kunitz, “I Dreamed That I Was Old” from The Poems of Stanley Kunitz, 1928-1978. Copyright © 1930, 1944, 1958, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1979 by Stanley Kunitz. Reprinted with the permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. This selection may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Source: Selected Poems 1928-1958 (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1958)

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Poet Stanley Kunitz 1905–2006

Subjects Growing Old, Love, Death, The Body, Living, Relationships, Nature

 Stanley  Kunitz

Biography

Stanley Kunitz became the tenth Poet Laureate of the United States in the autumn of 2000. Kunitz was ninety-five years old at the time, still actively publishing and promoting poetry to new generations of readers. In the New York Times Book Review, Robert Campbell noted that Kunitz's selection as poet laureate—the highest literary honor in America—"affirms his stature as perhaps the most distinguished living American poet." . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Growing Old, Love, Death, The Body, Living, Relationships, Nature

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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