Saturday, May 09, 2015

White Frills; listen!

Iris bloom just beginning now! And a quail stood on the fence this morning to call!
Instead of answering, I kept very quiet.

When I opened the door
I found the vine leaves
speaking among themselves in abundant
          My presence made them
hush their green breath,
embarrassed, the way
humans stand up buttoning their jackets,
acting as if they were leaving anyway, as if
the conversation had ended
just before you arrived.
                                        I liked
the glimpse I had though,
of their obscure 
gestures. I liked the sound of
such private voices. Next time
I'll move like cautious sunlight, open
the door by fractions, eavesdrop

Denise Levertov

Now and Then; the Poet's Choice Columns, 1997-2000,
by Robert Hass, Shoemaker & Hoard, 2007, pages 195-196.

This is perhaps the last poem completed by Levertov. It was the final poem in the looseleaf binder that she left unpublished when she died in 1997. The poems were published in a farewell volume, The Great Unknowing; late poems, New Directions, 2000.

The linebreaks in this poem are spectacular! Read it aloud; try reading it straight through without breaking, as if it were prose.
Then read it with clear emphasis on the linebreaks 
Good night, Denise! Well done.

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