The Layers/Take A Walk

Poem to song comparison

Poem: text

The Layers

Stanley Kunitz


I have walked through many lives,

some of them my own,

and I am not who I was,

though some principle of being

abides, from which I struggle

not to stray.

When I look behind,

as I am compelled to look

before I can gather strength

to proceed on my journey,

I see the milestones dwindling

toward the horizon

and the slow fires trailing

from the abandoned camp-sites,

over which scavenger angels

wheel on heavy wings.

Oh, I have made myself a tribe

out of my true affections,

and my tribe is scattered!

How shall the heart be reconciled

to its feast of losses?

In a rising wind

the manic dust of my friends,

those who fell along the way,

bitterly stings my face.

Yet I turn, I turn,

exulting somewhat,

with my will intact to go

wherever I need to go,

and every stone on the road

precious to me.

In my darkest night,

when the moon was covered

and I roamed through wreckage,

a nimbus-clouded voice

directed me:

“Live in the layers,

not on the litter.”

Though I lack the art

to decipher it,

no doubt the next chapter

in my book of transformations

is already written.

I am not done with my changes.

Poem: main idea

When struggling with many different lives, he realizes there are few things that need to remain constant in each. He watches failure and emotional wreckage only to realize life is as simple, or complicated, as you decide to make it. He doesn't exactly know what, "live on the layers not the litter" means, but he know that it means something to him. He realizes that in some way that proverb will change his perspective on life. Eventually there is a realization that the proverb means that life is too short to worry about the little things.

Why I chose this poem

This poem explains how life should be. We often get caught up in the small aspects of life and neglect the important ones, such as family and loved ones. Life is too short to let physical things like finances and simple things control who you are. Most people struggle with the concept of moderation in life. So they often let these things that the should have a hold on, enslave them.

Song: lyrics

Take A Walk

Passion Pit


All these kinds of places

Make it seem like it's been ages

Tomorrow some new building will scrape the sky

I love this country dearly

I can feel the ladder clearly

But I never thought I'd be alone to try


Once I was outside Penn station

Selling red and white carnations

We were still alone,

My wife and I

Before we marry, save my money

Brought my dear wife over

Now I want to bring my family state side


But off the boat they stayed awhile

Then scattered across the coast

Once a year I'll see them for a week or so at most


I took a walk


Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk

Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk, (oh-ah-ohhhh)

I take a walk

Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk

Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk (oh-ah-oh-oh-oh-oh)


Practice isn't perfect

But the market cuts the loss

I remind myself that times could be much worse

My wife won't ask me questions

There's not so much to ask

And she'll never flaunt around an empty purse


Once my mother-in-law came

Just to stay a couple nights

Then decided she would stay the rest of her life

I watch my little children, play some board game in the kitchen

And I sit and pray they never feel my strife.


But then my partner called to say the pension funds were gone

He made some bad investments, now the accounts are overdrawn


I took a walk


Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk

Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk, (oh-ah-ohhhh)

I take a walk

Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk

Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk (oh-ah-oh-oh-oh-oh)


Honey it's your son I think I borrowed just too much

We had taxes, we had bills, we had a lifestyle of fun

And tonight I swear I'll come home and we'll make love like we're young

Then tomorrow you'll cook dinner for the neighbours and their kids

We can rip apart those socialists and all their damn taxes

But see I am no criminal

I'm down on both bad knees

I'm just too much a coward to admit when I'm in need


I took a walk


Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk

Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk, (oh-ah-ohhhh)

I take a walk

Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk

Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk (oh-ah-oh-oh-oh-oh)

I take a walk

Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk

Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk, (oh-ah-ohhhh)

I take a walk

Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk

Take a walk, take a walk, take a walk (oh-ah-oh-oh-oh-oh)

The connection

The poem and the song I picked have one common major theme, which is: don't let the little things in life rule your life. Both of the protagonists worry about the future so much that they are missing the present. Eventually there is an epiphany that shows them how they have been living life wrong, and how they have gotten too caught up in insignificant suspects of life. Both of the stories end in the protagonists changing their lifestyles for the better.
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The painting (original poem)

A man in a room

A painting of perfection

Accidents come soon

Not worth time at an auction

The artist slips to the floor

And the painting belongs to the sidewalk

The artist can take no more

Ah he hit his pride block

Nothing but perfection

Should be ever close to accepted

As he heads for the door

He is an artist no more

A lady on a walk

The weather for a perfect day

Finds the abandoned painting

Ownerless and stray

A fine painting she thought

And she took it away

Signed her name on the bottom

Then took to the auction

The painting was fantastic in the eyes of the buyer

The imperfection left an impression that couldn't be higher

The buyer took the painting because it was worth something to him

While the artist sits in a room, full of discontent