Monday, December 14, 2009

A Blessing By Denise Levertov

A Blessing
By Denise Levertov

'Your river is in full flood,' she said,
'Work on---use these weeks well!'
She was leaving, with springy step, a woman
herself renewed, her life risen
up from the root of despair she'd
bent low to touch,
risen empowered. Her work now
could embrace more; she imagined anew
the man's totem tree and its taproot,
the woman's chosen lichen, patiently
composting rock, another's
needful swamp, the tribal migrations---
swaying skeins rotating their leaders,
pace unflagging---and the need
of each threatened thing
to be. She had met
with the council
of all beings.

'You give me
my life,' she said to the just-written poems,
long-legged foals surprised to be standing.

The poet waving farewell
is not so sure of the river.
Is it indeed
strong-flowing, generous? Was there largesse
for alluvial, black, seed-hungry fields?
Or had a flash-flood
swept down these tokens
to be plucked ashore, rescued
only to watch the waters recede
from stones of an arid variety?

But the traveler's words
are leaven. They work in the poet.
The river swiftly
goes on braiding its heavy tresses,
brown and flashing,
as far as the eye can see.

From: "Breathing the Water" by Denise Levertov, pages 6 - 7

"Children and lunatics cut the Gordian knot which the poet spends his life patiently trying to untie." ~Jean Cocteau

"Poets are like magicians, searching for magical phrases to pull rabbits out of people's souls." ~Glade Byron Addams


Renee said...

Darling I love that picture and I had never seen it before of Jesus. How interesting that you should see it today and have seen it since you were 12.

Love Renee xoxoxo

RNSANE said...

Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

Phoenix said...

What a beautiful poem! It always seems that way, doesn't it, that poems have a life of their own and run like a current. You can mold the foundations and the shore but in the end a poem will run the way it was birthed to and all we can do is stand back in awe as mothers and watch what we have just helped create.

So lovely and so inspiring, Marion. Thank you for sharing your poems and your light with us.

Wine and Words said...

Pulling rabbits out of people's souls...I love that image. Love you Miss Magician. That you are!

Kelly said...

Ahhhh. Enjoyed the Denise Levertov!

Karen said...

I enjoyed the poem and the quotes. We who aspire to call ourselves poets (and even the real ones, apparently) are so conscious of our art/calling/task/quest/ and the relationship we have with this writing life. Thanks for sharing these.

Rikkij said...

Marion- I loved this line "But the traveler's words
are leaven" I just love the word Traveler, actually. A lovely tribute to wordsmiths everywhere. Love ya, Kiddo! Thanks to you and Ray for the lovely card. Merry Christmas! ~rick

Inky said...

wonderful poem and fitting not just for this blessed holiday but anytime. HUGS MERRY CHRISTMAS

Phoenix said...

Aw, THANK YOU, Marion! I know life has been difficult for you right now, so for you to share in your kindness and generosity is so incredibly touching. Please remember to email me your mailing address so Alyssa and I can thank you properly after the holidays :)

Sending so much love your way,


Angie Muresan said...

Thank you for sharing that poem. It is truly beautiful!

Marion said...

Thanks for visiting, everyone! I'm glad y'all enjoyed the poem. I've been so busy trying to watch every old "Northern Exposure" TV show that I haven't been at my computer much. I'm a HUGE fan of "Northern Exposure" and watch all six seasons at least once a year. I love and appreciate you all and am so glad we all met this year. I hope in 2010 we all become closer friends. Blessings!!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Such a beautiful 'blessing'. I adore Denise Levertov. Love the phrase ...the need of each threatened thing to be....

A healing post. Thank you!

Renee said...

Marion that is a beautiful quote from Luke.

When are you going away you lucky lady.


Woman in a Window said...

I found myself wading thick through Denise's poem. I will have to turn and wade back through to the start to understand, I think.

Love the rabbit quote. A birth, that rabbit from the hat. Can almost feel it slipping through.

much love, Marion
enjoy those grandkids!
and happy holidays to you and all of yours