Denise Levertov

Denise Levertov

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Priscilla Denise Levertov (24 October 1923 – 20 December 1997) was an American poet. She was a recipient of the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry. Levertov's 'What Were They Like?' is currently included in the Pearson Edexcel GCSE (9–1) English Literature poetry anthology.
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In California During The Gulf War

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Among the blight-killed eucalypts, amongtrees and bushes rusted by Christmas frosts,the yards and hillsides exhausted by five years of drought,certain airy white blossoms punctuallyreappeared, and dense clusters of pale pink, dark pink—a delicate ...
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Sojourns In The Parallel World

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We live our lives of human passions,cruelties, dreams, concepts,crimes and the exercise of virtuein and beside a world devoidof our preoccupations, freefrom apprehension—though affected,certainly, by our actions
A worldparallel to our own tho...
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Intrusion

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After I had cut off my handsand grown new onessomething my former hands had longed forcame and asked to be rocked
After my plucked out eyeshad withered, and new ones grownsomething my former eyes had wept forcame asking to be pitied
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What Were They Like

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Did the people of Viet Namuse lanterns of stone
Did they hold ceremoniesto reverence the opening of buds
Were they inclined to quiet laughter
Did they use bone and ivory,jade and silver, for ornament
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Celebration

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Brilliant, this day – a young virtuoso of a day
Morning shadow cut by sharpest scissors,deft hands
And every prodigy of green – whether it's ferns or lichens or needlesor impatient points of buds on spindly bushes – greener than ever bef...
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The Métier Of Blossoming

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Fully occupied with growing—that'sthe amaryllis
Growing especiallyat night: it would takeonly a bit more patience than I've gotto sit keeping watch with it till daylight;the naked eye could register every hour'sincrease in height
Like a ...
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Seeing For A Moment

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I thought I was growing wings—it was a cocoon
I thought, now is the time to stepinto the fire—it was deep water
Eschatology is a word I learnedas a child: the study of Last Things;facing my mirror—no longer young, the news—always of deat...
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Web

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Intricate and untraceable weaving and interweaving,dark strand with light:designed, beyondall spiderly contrivance,to link, not to entrap:elation, grief, joy, contrition, entwined;shaking, changing,foreverforming, transforming:all praise,all prais...
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Looking Walking Being

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"The World is not something tolook at, it is something to be in
"Mark RudmanI look and look
Looking's a way of being: one becomes,sometimes, a pair of eyes walking
Walking wherever looking takes one
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The Thread

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Something is very gently, invisibly, silently, pulling at me-a thread or net of threads finer than cobweb and as elastic
I haven't tried the strength of it
No barbed hook pierced and tore me
Was it not long ago this thread began to ...
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People at Night

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A night that cuts between you and youand you and you and youand me : jostles us apart, a man elbowingthrough a crowd
We won't look for each other, either-wander off, each alone, not lookingin the slow crowd
Among sideshows under movie si...
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From The Roof

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This wild night, gathering the washing as if it were flowers animal vines twisting over the line and slapping my face lightly, soundless merriment in the gesticulations of shirtsleeves,
I recall out of my joy a night of miserywalking in the d...
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The Secret

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Two girls discoverthe secret of lifein a sudden line ofpoetry
I who don't know thesecret wrotethe line
Theytold me(through a third person)they had found itbut not what it wasnot evenwhat line it was
No doubtby now, more than a weekl...
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The Well

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At sixteen I believed the moonlight could change me if it would
I moved my headon the pillow, even moved my bedas the moon slowlycrossed the open lattice
I wanted beauty, a dangerousgleam of steel, my body thinner,my pale face paler
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The Breathing

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An absolutepatience
Trees standup to their knees infog
The fogslowly flowsuphill
Whitecobwebs, the grass leaning where deer have looked for apples
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Grey Sparrow Addresses The Minds Ear

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In the Japanese tongue of the mind's eye one two syllable word tells of the fringe of rain clinging to the eaves and of the grey-green fronds of wild parsley
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