Denise Levertov (1923-1997)

Poetry on Gratitude

Denise Levertov:

That Passeth All Understanding (1984)
Praise Wet Snow Falling Early (1995)

Edited by Peter Y. Chou

That Passeth All Understanding

An awe so quiet
I don't know when it began.

A gratitude
had begun
to sing in me.

Was there
some moment
song from no song?

When does dewfall begin?

When does night
fold its arms over our hearts
to cherish them?

When is daybreak?

Denise Levertov, Oblique Prayers
New Directions, New York, 1984, p. 85

Praise Wet Snow

Praise wet snow
          falling early.
Praise the shadow
          my neighbor's chimney casts on the tile roof
even this gray October day that should, they say,
have been golden.
the invisible sun burning beyond
          the white cold sky, giving us
light and the chimney's shadow.
god or the gods, the unknown,
that which imagined us, which stays
our hand,
our murderous hand,
                    and gives us
in the shadow of death,
          our daily life,
          and the dream still
of goodwill, of peace on earth.
flow and change, night and
the pulse of day.

Denise Levertov, "Praise Wet Snow"
New Directions, New York


Web Links:
Academy of American Poets: Denise Levertov
Modern American Poetry: Denise Levertov
Web Resources: Denise Levertov
The Beat Page: Denise Levertov
Denise Levertov Papers at Stanford
Poet Hunter: 57 Denise Levertov Poems
"Genealogy of Postmodernism: Contemporary American Poetry"

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P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (1-15-2006)