Denise Levertov

From the Roof

This wild night, gathering the washing as if it were flowers 
           animal vines twisting over the line and
           slapping my face lightly, soundless merriment
           in the gesticulations of shirtsleeves,
I recall out of my joy a night of misery

walking in the dark and the wind over broken earth,
           halfmade foundations and unfinished 
           drainage trenches and the spaced-out 
                                       circles of glaring light 
           marking streets that were to be,
 walking with you but so far from you, 

and now alone in October's 
first decision towards winter, so close to you— 
           my arms full of playful rebellious linen, a freighter 
           going down-river two blocks away, outward bound, 
           the green wolf-eyes of the Harborside Terminal  
                                glittering on the Jersey shore,
and a train somewhere under ground bringing you towards me 
to our new living-place from which we can see 

a river and its traffic (the Hudson and the 
hidden river, who can say which it is we see, we see 
something of both. Or who can say 
the crippled broom-vendor yesterday, who passed
just as we needed a new broom, was not 
one of the Hidden Ones?)
           Crates of fruit are unloading
           across the street on the cobbles,
           and a brazier flaring
           to warm the men and burn trash. He wished us
luck when we bought the broom. But not luck 
brought us here. By design

clean air and cold wind polish 
the river lights, by design
we are to live now in a new place.