Denise Levertov

The Victors

In June the bush we call
alder was heavy, listless,
its leaves studded with galls,

growing wherever we didn’t
want it. We cut it
savagely, hunted it from the pasture, chopped it

away from the edge of the wood.
In July, still everywhere, it appeared
wearing green berries.

Anyway it must go. It takes
the light and air and the good of the earth
from flowers and young trees.

But now in August
its berries are red. Do the birds
eat them?     Swinging

clusters of red, the hedges are full of them,
red-currant red, a graceful
ornament or a merry smile.