Saturday, June 25, 2011


when i first read this poem, i felt as if i was reading myself.
i feel sure that you will see something of yourself in this also.

the edge of the sea at palavas gustave courbet

sojourns in the parallel world

we live our lives of human passions,
cruelties, dreams, concepts,
crimes and the exercise of virtue
in and beside a world devoid
of our preoccupations, free
from apprehension--though affected,
certainly, by our actions. a world
parallel to our own though overlapping.
we call it "nature"; only reluctantly
admitting ourselves to be "nature" too.
whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,
our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,
an hour even, of pure (almost pure)
response to that insouciant life:
cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing
pilgrimage of water, vast stillness
of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,
animal voices, mineral hum, wind
conversing with rain, ocean with rock, stuttering
of fire to coal - then something tethered
in us, hobbled like a donkey on its patch
of gnawed grass and thistles, breaks free.
no one discovers
just where we've been, when we're caught up again
into our own sphere (where we must
return, indeed, to evolve our destinies)
--but we have changed, a little.

denise levertov


Linda Sue said...

This is so perfect. Yes, changed a little...caught up...I do tire of seeing out of my own head. i Like yours better.

alaine@éclectique said...

I definitely see myself in this poem; no matter how well planned the day, I'm led off in a tangent, twisting and turning, sometimes trying hard to get back to the plan and then, at the end of the day, I'm wondrous but the day usually turns out to be more interesting and enjoyable than what was planned! And yes, I'm changed a little.

Thanks for the intro, Steven.

Rachel Fenton said...

I like wandering off at a tangent....

steven said...

linda sue, i have a feeling that we see out of all sorts of people's heads. i like the feeling of coming home when i return to my own but the vacations are definitely worthwhile. plus, as an added bonus, it leaves space in my own head for others. steven

steven said...

alaine - i love levertov's writing. she speaks in her writing while dancing through and around the spine of her thinking. steven

steven said...

rachel, tangents are like parties . . . who knows what's going to happen. steven

Anonymous said...

You're right, I do see something of myself in the poem. It's lovely. Thank you.

Ruth said...

And when we see and feel those small changes, we want more transformation, and so it is fed by our desire to assimilate, to absorb and be absorbed into the whole.

The Weaver of Grass said...

For many years I have believed that to be truly content we have to see ourselves as an integral part of nature just like every other plant, bird, fish and animal.

Reya Mellicker said...


OceanoAzul.Sonhos said...

hello steven, you are right, i think that all of us see ourselves in this poem, in one way or another.
Good weekend.