Denise Levertov: A Happening

from the October 1958 issue of Poetry magazine; thanks to Rachel Kalthoff for introducing me to this poet’s work…

Two birds, flying East, hit the night
at 3 in the afternoon, stars came out
over the badlands, and the billowy
snowlands; they floundered on
resolving not to turn back in search
of lost afternoon; continuing
through cotton wildernesses
through the stretched night
and caught up with dawn in a rainstorm
in the City, where they fell
in semblance of torn paper sacks
to the sidewalk on 42nd St., and resumed
their human shape, and separated:
one turned uptown, to follow
the Broadway river to its possible source,
the other downtown, to see
the fair and goodly harbor; but each,
accosted by shadows that muttered to him
pleading mysteriously, half-hostile, was drawn
into crosstown streets, into
revolving doorways, into nameless
small spaces back of buildings,
airless airshafts, till no more
was known of man, bird, nor paper.

 

+VDMA

One Comment

  1. I love Denise Levertov! One of the papers I had the most fun writing from college was on one of her poems. Thanks for posting this one!

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