What's happening now? This is the equivalent of the mallard pool hall in early summer.
All the females are hidden away, sitting on nests. The fellows wander around
and spend a lot of time taking midday naps here on the streambank.
I love the way the photo caught him adjusting his sharp new wingfeathers.
One of them always tucks his beak into his back feathers,
most of them just face forward and close their eyes.
Sound of the Axe
Once a woman went into the woods.
The birds were silent. Why? she said.
Thunder, they told her,
She walked on, and the trees were dark
and rustled their leaves. Why? she said.
The great storm, they told her,
the great storm is coming.
She came to the river, it rushed by
without reply, she crossed the bridge,
she began to climb
up to the ridge where grey rocks
bleach themselves, waiting
the crack of doom,
and the hermit
had his hut, the wise man
who had lived since time began.
When she came to the hut
there was no one.
But she heard his axe.
the listening forest.
She dared not follow the sound
of the axe. Was it
the world tree he was felling?
Was this the day?
The Life Around Us; selected poems on nature,
New Directions, 1997, page 14.
Levertov is a good poet to study for her masterful use of linebreaks and lines of varying lengths
which contribute to the music of the poem.