Raccoon Journal (Provincetown, 1984) by Stanley Kunitz (two excerpts)
from Raccoon Journal by Stanley Kunitz
To be like Orpheus, who could talk
with animals in their own language –
in sleep I had that art …
Raccoons! I can hear them
confabulating on the porch,
half churring, half growling,
bubbling to a manic hoot
that curdles the night air.
Something out there appalls.
On the back-door screen
a heavy piece of fur hangs,
spread-eagled, breathing hard,
hooked by prehensile fingers,
with its pointed snout pressing in,
and the dark agates of its bandit eyes
furiously blazing. Behind,
where shadows deepen, burly forms
lumber from side to side
like diminished bears
on a flat-footed shuffle.
They watch me, unafraid.
I know they’ll never leave;
they’ve come to take possession.
–Stanley Kunitz, Raccoon Journal (Provincetown, 1984);
The New Yorker, July 22, 1985 and Next-to-Last Things
The poem was published in a wonderful volume called Next-to-Last Things, which seems to be out of print. Perhaps you can find it in your local library. If not, I suggest you read anything available by Kunitz.Explore posts in the same categories: 2010, In the City, March, raccoons, Wildlife/Natural History comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.