Denise Levertov

Didactic Poem

The blood we give the dead to drink
is deeds we do at the will of the dead spirits in us,
not our own live will.
The dead who thirst to speak
had no good words or deeds when they lived,
or not enough, and were left in longing.
Their longing to speak, their thirst
for the blood of their deeds done by us,
would leave no time, place, force,
for our own deeds, our
own imagination of speech.
Refuse them!
If we too miss out, don’t create our lives,
                                         invent our deeds, do them, dance
                                         a tune with our own feet,
we shall thirst in Hades,
in the blood of our children.