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Denise Levertov (1923 – 1997)

British-American poet.
Denise Levertov
Then as he sang
it was no longer sounds only that made the music:
he spoke, and as no tree listens I listened, and language
                    came into my roots
                                out of the earth,
                    into my bark
                                out of the air,
into the pores of my greenest shoots
            gently as dew
and there was no word he sang but I knew its meaning.
Levertov quotes
Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of
I am tired of 'the fine art of unhappiness'.

Levertov Denise quotes
The world is
not with us enough.
O taste and see.
Levertov Denise
Lord, not you,
it is I who am absent.
Denise Levertov quotes
The wind, the birds,
                                                do not sound poorer but clearer,
recalling our agony, and the way we danced.
Denise Levertov
To me it seems perhaps
Kropotkin understood half
of what we need to know,
and Lenin perhaps
knew half, and true revolution ... true revolution
must put these two halves together?
Levertov Denise quotes
And I
        in terror
                        but not in doubt of
                                                            what I must do
in anguish, in haste,
                        wrenched from the earth root after root,
the soil heaving and cracking, the moss tearing asunder
and behind me the others: my brothers
forgotten since dawn. In the forest
they too had heard,
and were pulling their roots in pain
out of a thousand years' layers of dead leaves,
                rolling the rocks away,
                                            breaking themselves
                                                                out of
                                                                        their depths.
Let Ariel learn
a blessing for Caliban
and Caliban drink dew from the lotus
open upon the waters.
Levertov Denise
                                             Fire he sang,
that trees fear, and I, a tree, rejoiced in its flames.
New buds broke forth from me though it was full summer.
                    As though his lyre (now I knew its name)
                    were both frost and fire, its chords flamed
up to the crown of me.
                    I was seed again.
                                        I was fern in the swamp.
                                                                        I was coal.
Denise Levertov
To serve the people,
one must write for the ideal reader. Only for the ideal reader.
And who or what is that ideal reader? God. One must imagine,
One must deeply imagine

Denise Levertov quotes
The poet
never must lose despair.
Denise Levertov
Not for one second
will my self hold still, but wanders
everywhere it can turn. Not you,
it is I am absent.
Levertov quotes
I am not joking. I'm speaking
of spirit. Not dogma but spirit. The Way.
Levertov Denise
I was the first to see him, for I grew
                    out on the pasture slope, beyond the forest.
He was a man, it seemed. . .
Levertov Denise quotes
Down through the tomb's inward arch
He has shouldered out into Limbo
to gather them, dazed, from dreamless slumber...
Denise Levertov
And not till he saw the angel had left him,
alone and free to resume
the ecstatic, dangerous, wearisome roads of
what he had still to do,
not till then did he recognize
this was no dream.
Denise Levertov quotes
pure dust that is all
in all.    Bless,
weightless Spirit. Drink
Caliban, push your tongue
heavy into the calyx.
Denise Levertov
                                                    The music reached us.
Levertov Denise
By dawn he was gone.
                                We have stood here since,
in our new life.
                        We have waited.
                                                    He does not return.

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