Denise Levertov


A man growing old is going
down the dark stairs.
He has been speaking of the Soul
tattooed with the Law.
Of dreams
burnt in the bone.

He looks up
to the friends who lean
out of light and wine
over the well of stairs.
They ask his pardon
for the dark they can’t help.

Starladen Babylon
buzzes in his blood, an ancient
pulse. The rivers
run out of Eden.
Before Adam
Adam blazes.

‘It’s alright,’ answers
the man going down,
‘it’s alright—there are many
avenues, many corridors of the soul
that are dark also.