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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