A Poem for a Thursday #86

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash


Denise Levertov was born in England in 1923. She decided from a young age to be a poet and when she was twelve she sent some of her poems to T. S. Eliot. He responded encouraging her to continue to write. After her marriage, she and her husband moved to the U. S. She went on to publish many volumes of poems and to teach at various universities. Her poems contain themes of religion, war, and politics.

To tell the truth,
I believe I could be happy
doing nothing but reading old diaries
morning to night. Silk and muslin
brush my hands like moths
passing by, the dancers
go up and down the room, no one
has learned the Valse as yet,
fiddle and flute and fortepiano
return to the older rhythms.
Birth and death, the fortunes of war,
fear and relief from fear
compel attention, yet
they're veiled in the mild Septembery
haze of time--blessedly present, blessedly
long gone by. Aware of the shame
I ought to feel--defecting
so willingly from my own century--
I stroll calmly through candlelit rooms
and down to the quay, to board
a waiting vessel that sails with the tide
into the finest clear night
possible, the Comet more beautiful
than anything I ever saw,
and the noise of the herrings,
which passed us
in immense shoals, glittering
in the Sea, like fire...

The Glittering Noise
Denise Levertov

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