Denise Levertov

A Lamentation

Grief, have I denied thee? 
Grief, I have denied thee.
That robe or tunic, black gauze 
over black and silver my sister wore 
to dance Sorrow, hung so long 
in my closet. I never tried it on.
                     And my dance 
was Summer—they rouged my cheeks 
and twisted roses with wire stems into my hair. 
I was complaint, Juno de sept ans,              
betraying my autumn birthright pour faire plaisir.  
Always denial. Grief in the morning, washed away 
in coffee, crumbled to a dozen errands between 
busy fingers.

                      Or across cloistral shadow, insistent 
intrusion of pink sun stripes from open 
archways, falling recurrent.

Corrosion denied, the figures the acid designs
filled in. Grief dismissed,
and Eros along with grief.
Phantasmagoria swept across the sky
by shaky winds endlessly,
the spaces of blue timidly steady—
blue curtains at trailer windows framing
the cinder walks.
There are hidden corners of sky
stoked with the swept shreds, with pain and ashes.
have I denied thee? Denied thee.
The emblems torn from the walls,
and the black plumes.