Poetry and psychotherapy share an intention to deepen into the essentials. When a poem
captures something for me, I feel, as I did when I first heard this poem, a resonance in the body.
I sensed a settling and an alertness at the same time: pay attention! Simple words, chosen with
care, placed beside one another forming something powerful and tender. This poet was also a
gardener and his poem evokes for me the beauty of a complex living system. In psychotherapy we
endeavor, as we come into relationship with the challenges and pain of our lives, to grow
something new from the raw material. Much as the beauty of a perennial garden has its seasons and
is grounded in the compost of the old, so our lives are replenished by the sense we make of all
that has brought us this far. "The Layers" gives me precious permission to have it all,
letting go of the preferences and trusting in life as it is.
Read "The Layers" by Stanley Kunitz