Eros By Denise Levertov

Eros The flowerlike animal perfume in the god’s curly hair — don’t assume that like a flower his attributes are there to tempt you or…

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The Fountain By Denise Levertov

The Fountain by Denise Levertov Don’t say, don’t say there is no water to solace the dryness at our hearts. I have seen the fountain…

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Matins By Denise Levertov

Matins i The authentic! Shadows of it sweep past in dreams, one could say imprecisely, evoking the almost-silent ripping apart of giant sheets of cellophane….

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Witness By Denise Levertov

Witness by Denise Levertov Sometimes the mountain is hidden from me in veils of cloud, sometimes I am hidden from the mountain in veils of…

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Celebration By Denise Levertov

Celebration by Denise Levertov Brilliant, this day — a young virtuoso of a day. Morning shadow cut by sharpest scissors, deft hands. And every prodigy…

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Seeing For A Momentby By Denise Levertov

Seeing for a Momentby Denise Levert ov I thought I was growing wings — it was a cocoon. I thought, now is the time to…

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Looking, Walking, Being By Denise Levertov

Looking, Walking, Being by Denise Levertov “The World is not something to look at, it is something to be in.” — Mark Rudman I look…

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To Live In The Mercy Of God By Denise Levertov

To Live in the Mercy of God To lie back under the tallest oldest trees. How far the stems rise, rise before ribs of shelter…

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Ein Baum Erzählt Von Orpheus By Denise Levertov

Ein Baum Erzählt Von Orpheus Weißer Tagesanbruch. Stille. Als das Kräuseln begann, hielt ich es für Seewind, in unser Tal kommend mit Raunen von Salz,…

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Scraps Of Moon By Denise Levertov

Scraps of moon by Denise Levertov Scraps of moon bobbing discarded on broken water but sky-moon complete, transcending all violation Here she seems to be…

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In California – Morning, Evening, Late January By Denise Levertov

In California – Morning, Evening, Late January Pale, then enkindled, light advancing, emblazoning summits of palm and pine, the dew lingering, scripture of scintillas. Soon…

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The Springtime By Denise Levertov

The Springtime The red eyes of rabbits aren’t sad. No one passes the sad golden village in a barge any more. The sunset will leave…

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Clouds By Denise Levertov

Clouds The clouds as I see them, rising urgently, roseate in the mounting of somber power surging in evening haste over roofs and hermetic grim…

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Prisoners By Denise Levertov

Prisoners Though the road turn at last to death’s ordinary door, and we knock there, ready to enter and it opens easily for us, yet…

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Illustrious Ancestors By Denise Levertov

Illustrious Ancestors by Denise Levertov The Rav of Northern White Russia declined, in his youth, to learn the language of birds, because the extraneous did…

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Variation On A Theme By Rilke By Denise Levertov

Variation On A Theme By Rilke by Denise Levertov (The Book of Hours, Book I, Poem 1, Stanza 1) A certain day became a presence…

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Caedmon By Denise Levertov

Caedmon All others talked as if talk were a dance. Clodhopper I, with clumsy feet would break the gliding ring. Early I learned to hunch…

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Primary Wonder By Denise Levertov

Primary Wonder by Denise Levertov Days pass when I forget the mystery. Problems insoluble and problems offering their own ignored solutions jostle for my attention,…

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Making Peace By Denise Levertov

Making Peace by Denise Levertov A voice from the dark called out, “The poets must give us imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar…

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The Secret By Denise Levertov

The Secret by Denise Levertov Two girls discover the secret of life in a sudden line of poetry. I who don’t know the secret wrote…

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Beginners By Denise Levertov

Beginners by Denise Levertov Dedicated to the memory of Karen Silkwood and Eliot Gralla “From too much love of living, Hope and desire set free,…

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Partial Resemblance By Denise Levertov

Partial Resemblance A doll’s hair concealing an eggshell skull delicately throbbing, within which maggots in voluptuous unrest jostle and shrug. Oh, Eileen, my big doll,…

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Ikon – The Harrowing Of Hell By Denise Levertov

Ikon – The Harrowing Of Hell Down through the tomb’s inward arch He has shouldered out into Limbo to gather them, dazed, from dreamless slumber:…

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The Sage By Denise Levertov

The Sage The cat is eating the roses: that’s the way he is. Don’t stop him, don’t stop the world going round, that’s the way…

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At The Justice Department November 15, 1969 By Denise Levertov

At The Justice Department November 15, 1969 Brown gas-fog, white beneath the street lamps. Cut off on three sides, all space filled with our bodies….

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Of Being By Denise Levertov

Of Being by Denise Levertov I know this happiness is provisional: the looming presences — great suffering, great fear — withdraw only into peripheral vision:…

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Hypocrite Women By Denise Levertov

Hypocrite Women Hypocrite women, how seldom we speak of our own doubts, while dubiously we mother man in his doubt! And if at Mill Valley…

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The Depths By Denise Levertov

The Depthsby Denise Levertov the abyss of everlasting light is revealed. The last cobwebs of fog in the black fir trees are flakes of white…

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An Excerpt By Denise Levertov

An Excerpt iiGloria Praise the wet snow falling early. Praise the shadow my neighor’s chimney casts on the tile roof even this gray October day…

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News Report, September 1991 By Denise Levertov

News Report, September 1991 U.S. BURIED IRAQI SOLDIERS ALIVE IN GULF WAR ‘What you saw was a bunch of trenches with arms sticking out.’ ‘Plows…

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Goodbye To Tolerance By Denise Levertov

Goodbye To Tolerance Genial poets, pink-faced earnest wits— you have given the world some choice morsels, gobbets of language presented as one presents T-bone steak…

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The 90th Year By Denise Levertov

The 90th Year High in the jacaranda shines the gilded thread of a small bird’s curlicue of song-too high for her to see or hear….

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A Time Past By Denise Levertov

A Time Past The old wooden steps to the front door where I was sitting that fall morning when you came downstairs, just awake, and…

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Only Once By Denise Levertov

Only Once by Denise Levertov All which, because it was flame and song and granted us joy, we thought we’d do, be, revisit, turns out…

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February Evening In New York By Denise Levertov

February Evening In New York As the stores close, a winter light opens air to iris blue, glint of frost through the smoke grains of…

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Stepping Westward By Denise Levertov

Stepping Westward by Denise Levertov What is green in me darkens, muscadine. If woman is inconstant, good, I am faithful to ebb and flow, I…

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A Map Of The Western Part Of The County Of Essex In England By Denise Levertov

A Map Of The Western Part Of The County Of Essex In England Something forgotten for twenty years: though my fathers and mothers came from…

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On A Theme By Thomas Merton By Denise Levertov

On A Theme By Thomas Merton “Adam, where are you?”        ;    God’s hands palpate darkness, the void that is Adam’s inattention, his confused attention to…

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Freedom By Denise Levertov

Freedom by Denise Levertov Perhaps we humans have wanted God most as witness to acts of choice made in solitude. Acts of mercy, of sacrifice….

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Song For Ishtar By Denise Levertov

Song For Ishtar The moon is a sow and grunts in my throat Her great shining shines through me so the mud of my hollow…

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A Gift By Denise Levertov

A Gift by Denise Levertov Just when you seem to yourself nothing but a flimsy web of questions, you are given the questions of others…

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Making Peace By Denise Levertov

Making Peace A voice from the dark called out, “The poets must give us imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar imagination of disaster….

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To the Reader – Denise Levertov

As you read, a white bear leisurely pees, dyeing the snow saffron, and as you read, many gods lie among lianas: eyes of obsidian are…

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Looking, Walking, Being – Denise Levertov

”The World is not something to look at, it is something to be in.” Mark Rudman I look and look. Looking’s a way of being:…

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A Tree Telling of Orpheus – Denise Levertov

White dawn. Stillness.When the rippling began I took it for sea-wind, coming to our valley with rumors of salt, of treeless horizons. But the white…

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An Embroidery – Denise Levertov

Rose Red’s hair is brown as fur and shines in firelight as she prepares supper of honey and apples, curds and whey, for the bear,…

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Talking to Grief – Denise Levertov

Ah, Grief, I should not treat you like a homeless dog who comes to the back door for a crust, for a meatless bone. I…

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Celebration – Denise Levertov

Brilliant, this day – a young virtuoso of a day. Morning shadow cut by sharpest scissors, deft hands. And every prodigy of green – whether…

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To the Snake – Denise Levertov

Green Snake, when I hung you round my neck and stroked your cold, pulsing throat as you hissed to me, glinting arrowy gold scales, and…

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Pleasures – Denise Levertov

I like to find what’s not found at once, but lies within something of another nature, in repose, distinct. Gull feathers of glass, hidden in…

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Aware – Denise Levertov

When I found the door I found the vine leaves speaking among themselves in abundant whispers. My presence made them hush their green breath, embarrassed,…

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The Dog of Art – Denise Levertov

That dog with daisies for eyes who flashes forth flame of his very self at every bark is the Dog of Art. Worked in wool,…

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Ikon The Harrowing of Hell – Denise Levertov

Down through the tomb’s inward arch He has shouldered out into Limbo to gather them, dazed, from dreamless slumber: the merciful dead, the prophets, the…

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The Well – Denise Levertov

At sixteen I believed the moonlight could change me if it would. I moved my head on the pillow, even moved my bed as the…

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September 1961 – Denise Levertov

This is the year the old ones, the old great ones leave us alone on the road. The road leads to the sea. We have…

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An excerpt from Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus – Denise Levertov

Praise the wet snow falling early. Praise the shadow my neighor’s chimney casts on the tile roof even this gray October day that should, they…

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The Garden Wall – Denise Levertov

Bricks of the wall, so much older than the house – taken I think from a farm pulled down when the street was built –…

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In Mind – Denise Levertov

There’s in my mind a woman of innocence, unadorned but fair-featured and smelling of apples or grass. She wears a utopian smock or shift, her…

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The Great Black Heron – Denise Levertov

Since I stroll in the woods more often than on this frequented path, it’s usually trees I observe; but among fellow humans what I like…

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Settling – Denise Levertov

I was welcomed here—clear gold of late summer, of opening autumn, the dawn eagle sunning himself on the highest tree, the mountain revealing herself unclouded,…

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