Denise Levertov

Three Meditations

the only object is
a man, carved
out of himself, so wrought he
fills his given space, makes
traceries sufficient to     
others’ needs
                     (here is
social action, for the poet,
anyway, his
politics, his
                             Charles Olsen

Breathe deep of the freshly gray morning air, mild spring of the day. Let the night’s dream-planting bear leaves and light up the death-mirrors with shining petals. Stand fast in thy place: remember, Caedmon turning from song was met in his cow barn by One who set him to sing tye beginning. Live in thy fingertips and in thy hair’s rising; hunger be thine, food be thine and what wine will nit shrivel thee. Breathe deep of evening, be with the rivers of tumult, sharpen thy wits to know power and be humble.
ii the task of the poet is to make clear to himself, and thereby to others, the temporal and eternal questions Ibsen Barbarians throng the straight roads of my empire, converging on black Rome. There is darkness in me. Silver sunrays sternly, in tenuous joy cut through its folds: mountains arise from cloud. Who was it yelled, cracking the glass of delight? Who sent the child sobbing to bed, and woke it later to comfort it? I, I, I, I. I multitude, I tyrant, I angel, I you, you world, battlefield, stirring with unheard litanies, sounds of piercing green half-smothered by strewn bones. iii And virtue? Virtue lies in the heroic response to the creative wonder, the utmost response. D.H. Lawrence Death in the grassblade a dull substance, heading blindly for the bone and bread preserved without virtue, sweet grapes sour to the children’s children. We breathe an ill wind, nevertheless our kind in mushroom multitudes jostles for elbow-room moonwards an equalization of hazards bringing the poet back to song as before to sing of death as before and life, while he has it, energy being in him a singing, a beating of gongs, efficacious to drive away devils, response to the wonder that as before shows a double face, to be what he is being his virtue filling his whole space so no devil may enter.